Political battle jeopardizes school funds

Local News

BISMARCK, Ill. (WCIA) — Parents in Vermilion County are frustrated with lawmakers.

That’s because some school districts are warning if the state can’t hash out a funding formula, they might be forced to close.

Bismarck-Henning’s superintendent sent parents an email last night letting them know – if money doesn’t come through, they might have to close at the end of the fall semester.

There’s already one bill the senate and house have passed. Democrats have the power to pass it to the governors desk — it just hasn’t arrived yet.

That standstill is making people uneasy.

“I don’t know what I would do if they closed the schools down, I mean I don’t want my kids to go to any other school and I don’t want to move or anything because I love it here.”

But for nearly 1,000 students and 150 employees in the Bismarck-Henning district, the legislature is causing uncertainty.

“It’s ridiculous and they need to do something, I don’t want to say I want to move out of Illinois because this is my home state, but if it comes to it, I might have to.”

This isn’t a new problem — John Brain used to serve on the school board.

“They were always late on their funding, but usually it eventually came through, well now it’s gotten to the point where the money isn’t falling through at all, so the schools can’t pay their bills, so they have to borrow money to pay their bills.”

Brain blames this on what he says is a lack of compromise in politics.

“I think a lot of it is political, the Democrats don’t want the Republicans to win, and the Republicans don’t want the Democrats to win, so they just take sides.”

But there’s a third side – and on this side, it’s the kids who are losing.

“School means a lot to the community, there’s always demand for people who want to bring people into the Bismarck schools.”

And that reason is obvious to people in town.

“These are one of the best schools my kids have ever been in.”

And they don’t want that to change.

“We’ve been here about seven years and I just don’t know what we would do.”

Superintendent of Bismarck-Henning says he has faith the legislature will figure everything out.

Other school districts in the area, including Rossville are in the same boat. Now, people just have to wait to see if that boat, floats.

In his email, Bismarck-Henning Superintendent Scott Watson told parents they should contact their elected officials.

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