Tuesday, Dec 10, 2013
State Board of Education Warns of Potential Funding Cuts
CARBONDALE -- The Illinois State Board of Education held a public hearing Wednesday in Carbondale with an outlook for the next fiscal year.
The situation is bleak for southern Illinois. Districts can expect less general aid from the state and two regional superintendents could be cut.
"We've got a ways to go here," said State Board of Education Chairman Gery Chico. "We are just embarking on the budget making process for this coming fiscal year. The projection that is shared with schools and school districts across Illinois says to plan conservatively."
Indications are the state's general aid to districts could drop from 89 percent to 85 percent.
The state board must also cut the number of regional superintendents before a November 23rd deadline.
"Today we have 44 but a new state statute says we must get down to 35," said Chico.
"In our part of the state there are going to be two less offices because two regions didn't meet the population requirements," explained regional superintendent Matt Donkin.
The state board must decide which regional offices to consolidate. It's a move that could cut expenses by more than $1.5 million a year, but will not fix the problem of dwindling state aid.
"We have got to keep pushing to continue to raise the amount of money that is spent on pre-k through 12th grade education," said Chico.
Wednesday's public hearing in Carbondale is the first in a series of meetings with school administrators across the state. The state board will use the feedback to put together the education budget it submits to governor Quinn.
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