Almost four-hundred schools have joined together in an initiative to get lawmakers in Illinois to pass a state budget.
Sixty-five percent of Illinois’ public school students are represented by those schools ranging from Carbondale in the south, to Chicago in the north.
At both the districts 205 and 202 board meetings this month, budget concerns were brought up and emphasized as a serious threat to the future of the school districts.
Knoxville Superintendent Steve Wilder said the district is in worse shape this year compared to last with the uncertainty of the budget, and lack of mandated categorical payments 202 is supposed to be getting from the state, “…there’s almost no talk about a state budget for next year.”
Wilder even suggested the possibility the state not getting a budget passed and what that would do to 202, “if a budget isn’t passed by June 30th, what happens to Knoxville? Do we open our doors? How long do we keep our doors open? There is growing speculation that some of the legislators may be willing to play a game of chicken and see if schools really open in the fall.”
Superintendent Ralph Grimm said 205 has not received any mandated categorical payments for this year, “Currently we’re not receiving payment of our mandated categoricals. Those mandated categoricals are things that the state mandates that we do, they require us to do it.” When asked how much was owed, Grimm said $2.1M.
Grimm continued saying, “We probably will get that money at some point, but that some point in the future could be next year… two years from now… three years from now. And our immediate concern is how do we pay payroll through June 30 of this current year.”
Superintendents Grimm and Wilder recommends contacting state legislators and encourage them to pass a budget.