Student fundraising to fill school funding gap

Local News

GEORGETOWN, Ill. (WCIA) — Many kids in America, the phrase “school’s out” is cause for celebration — but not here in central Illinois.

One high schooler in Georgetown is fed up with the legislative standstill, and he’s taken matters into his own hands.

Jared Vandevanter created a GoFundMe page yesterday to raise money for Georgetown-Ridge Farm School District.

He knows his campaign goal of $200,000 is pretty high, but he says every little bit helps.

“I really do care about school and education, and we are actually the children of the future.”

The children of the future, fed up with the politics of the present. School funding issues aren’t new ground for Jared Vandevanter.

“I’ve known about Illinois money problems for a long time, me and my friends talk about it a lot.”

He says they’re frustrated schools downstate are neglected.

“I just think it’s kind of weird that they give a lot of money to Chicago schools, and it just kind of trickles down, and we get kind of the slack money, and I think the government and the state should really do something about that. I feel like the lower part of the state isn’t getting nearly as much.”

That’s the root of the funding formula standstill.but school officials are still confident that lawmakers will hash out a plan.

“We really trust that the state is going to work out the financial difficulties, it’s a nice approach but ultimately it’s up to the state to give us a money flow, and we think it’s going to happen. Hopefully not a long while, but we expect that the state will come through.”

They’re proud of Vandevanter, who says he’s fighting for those who need public schools.

“I feel for the less fortunate kids because some kids can go to private schools or be home schooled, but some kids can’t afford that, so it’d be nice to have this school open.”

Officials say if the $311,000 they were supposed to receive doesn’t come through, the Georgetown-Ridge Farm District will have to close their doors just 51 days into the school year.

This isn’t just the situation in Georgetown — many of the schools across central Illinois are facing closures if they don’t receive money from the state.

The Georgetown-Ridge Farm district superintendent says parents should contact their elected officials to voice their concerns. They say they’re doing everything they can to keep the doors open.

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