School funding formula may come with a big comprise

Local News

CERRO GORDO, Ill. (WCIA) — A new school funding formula is closer than it’s ever been to passing legislation, but that means a 75 million dollar compromise would have to happen. 

The plan would set aside 75 million dollars in a controversial private school scholarship fund. It’s a strategy to help get the GOP’s support.

Many superintendents say the possibility of not being guaranteed school funding again is concerning. They don’t want the state to miss a payment again. They’re hoping for the best in the next few days. 

For example, schools across the state including Cerro Gordo High School, have been paid late for the past two years. Then this month no money came at all. That’s because republicans and democrats can’t agree on passing a workable funding formula. 

That state funding goes to pay for things like teacher salaries and textbooks. Fortunately for Cerro Gordo, they can run off of federal funds to cover this school year. But that doesn’t mean they don’t desperately need the state money. 

Superintendent Brett Robinson says, “I understand that compromise has to take place on occasion to get things done in Springfield, as it does in all walks of life. So I understand that. I just want to make sure that in the end and in the long run, Cerro Gordo students are treated equitably and fairly throughout the discussions.” 

“I don’t want it to be a band aid. I want it to be a permanent solution. I don’t want to have to worry about this later on.” 

Parents and superintendents agree, leaders need to fix this problem and fix it now. But the Illinois Association of School Administrators does not support the idea of 75 million dollars in publicly funded tax credits being used for private school scholarships.

They say even though the final product is not drafted in bill form yet, they don’t want to see tax dollars taken away from public schools. 

Only time will tell. Leaders meet this Sunday to finalize the plan. The house is expect to vote on it Monday. 

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