WSIL – Republican State Rep. Terri Bryant, of Murphysboro, toured an alternative school in Carbondale called Rebound on Thursday.
The school helps students who have struggled for various reasons in traditional school and helps them earn either a GED or a high school diploma.
Rebound is at risk of closing their doors because of the lack of funding caused by the Illinois state budget impasse. Their summer session is scheduled to begin on June 3, but whether or not that will happen is unclear.
Bryant walked around the school and spoke with students and staff. Afterward, she explained her optimism.
“I think K through12 is on everyone’s mind. So I don’t anticipate anyone thinking that we’re going to leave at the end of May without K through12 being funded and without having a 2017 budget,” Bryant said.
Last week, legislators made compromise in Springfield to partially fund higher education. That was the first major compromise the Illinois General Assembly has made in quite a while. Now Bryant believes there will be more.
“So I think we saw some really good things last week. When you have both sides of the aisle that are rank and file members that just basically say, ‘we’re going to work together to get this done.' I think we saw great progress last week,” she said.
Gov. Bruce Rauner has indicated he wants a budget deal by the end of next week, but he is still pushing his pro-business agenda.
And beyond the budget problem, Bryant said the school formula must be changed, stating proration and property taxes are problems in funding for the southern Illinois region.
“How does a school board plan for their year when you’re supposed to get X number of dollars and in reality you’re only going to get a percentage of that?” Bryant questioned. “I would hope that were looking at a formula that works better for downstate than the formula we’ve seen in the past.”
Bryant said she does support Bunker Hill Democrat State Sen. Andy Manar’s education reform, but there are still some competing ideas.