School leaders hold town hall on the first day without state aid checks

Published: Aug. 10, 2017 at 10:25 PM CDT
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The first general state aid checks were expected to arrive at Illinois schools on Thursday, but no funding formula passed means no money for local school districts.

The Monmouth-Roseville School District usually gets a $327,000 state aid payment on the 10th and 20th of each month. Superintendent Ed Fletcher says he hasn't received the payment due today and he's not expecting the check due on the 20th from the state.

Parents, school leaders and teachers from Monmouth Roseville and surrounding districts attended a town hall meeting to discuss school funding, in particular Senate Bill 1 which was amendatory vetoed by the governor.

Governor Bruce Rauner issued that amendatory veto 10 days ago, he took out what he calls a "bailout" for Chicago Public Schools. The amendatory veto takes away the pension funding for CPS.

Those at the meeting Thursday night in Monmouth say the bill is not a bailout for CPS, they believe that the Illinois Senate should override the governor's veto.

Superintendent Fletcher and former Galesburg Superintendent Ralph Grimm urged those in the room to call their local legislators.

Under SB1, Monmouth Roseville will get $892,000 more than last year. Superintendent Fletcher says his district has until late December or early January before they'll need to borrow money. But, his district will lose around $654,000 in August alone.

"It's a significant chunk of change," said Fletcher. "It's something I can't plan for. We have reserves and we worked really hard to conserve our cash over the last couple of years, but this is almost untenable."

The funding battle could be done as early as Sunday. The Illinois Senate will reconvene Sunday at 2 p.m. with the intention of action on school funding.

What is not clear is what kind of action the senate will take. It could either override the governor's amendatory veto or agree with it. Regardless, the bill will have to go to the House after the Senate.