West Carroll Schools Fighting Through Budget Cuts - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

West Carroll Schools Fighting Through Budget Cuts

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A new report shows 62 percent of Illinois school districts are struggling with their budgets.

A struggle caused by a lack of state funding, which continues to eat away at school resources.

The West Carroll School District cut about $860,000 from its budget Wednesday night.

The school board approved trimming a teacher, special education aides, and some janitors.

All part of a package to trim a $1.2 million budget deficit.

Cuts in West Carroll have been routine since 2007, as declining enrollment and decreased state aid have eaten away at the district's finances.

The superintendent says 85 staff positions have been cut and $4.5 million has been trimmed away.

He says it's frustrating, but the focus in the district remains on the children.

Test scores show even as cuts keep coming, the students are improving.

"I can show you since 2007 in this district, through kindergarten through eight grade, every level in every subject is achieving at a higher level than they were in 2007," says Superintendent Craig Mathers.

Parent Michelle Mangler says, "I think they do a good job with what they have to deal with, they have to deal with a lot of budget cuts, they have a lot of money that the state isn't paying."

The school district hoped voters would have approved a one cent sales tax in Carroll County on Tuesday.

It failed, but only by 100 votes.

The last time the question was on the ballot in 2011, it failed by a two to one margin.

Mathers expects the district to remain squeezed financially unless Illinois lawmakers budget more money for education.

It's also hoped once Thomson prison opens, there will be more jobs, and more kids coming into the district.

The Illinois State Board of Education has asked lawmakers to put another billion dollars into the state's education fund.

This year schools received 89 cents of every dollar they were supposed to get for education funding.

There are concerns that amount could drop lower next school year.

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