Illinois Parents Voice Concern Over Education Funding

Marshall, IL – Illinois students are gearing up to head back to school in a few weeks, but late payments from the state are starting to raise concerns for parents and teachers. 

For the first time ever schools in Illinois did not get their general state aid payment. 

It’s because of the gridlock between republicans and democrats on the new school funding formula. 

So Friday night, I set out to see how parents are starting to feel about sending their kids back to school and if this set back brings up any concern. 

“It’s a little scary to see the younger generation have to suffer through this and maybe not have what they need,” says parent Chris Hernandez.  

For parents Chris and Jen Hernandez, they’re about to send their four-year-old little girl, Kayleigh, off to preschool. 

Instead of worrying about taking pictures and having plenty of back to school clothes, these parents are concerned for her quality of education. 

“P.E. is being cut out and art and music and those things that that students need to have to be people in life,” says Jen Hernandez. 

Jen Hernandez knows these things because not only is she a parent, she’s also a teacher. 

“They are losing that out because of all these budget cuts that are happening,” says Jen. “So it’s a very scary part of society.” 

For the first time ever, school funding checks weren’t sent out on time causing superintendents across the state of Illinois to think about their next course of action. 

“This is historic funding reform and that doesn’t come easily,” says Tom Bertrand, superintendent of Rochester Schools. “It’s been difficult. But the, the bottom line for me is, the ball in on the one-yard line and senate bill 1 is the only bill that has passed both houses. It’s the only game in town.” 

The Hernandez family will continue on as normal, preparing for school like any other year. 

School officials are still concerned with the progress of this battle, which is affecting their abilities to care for their students. 

“Not having any general state aid or the thought of that is a little bit disconcerting for school districts and worrisome,” says Jennifer Gill, superintendent of Springfield Schools. 

Some money did make it’s way to the school districts. 

Comptroller Susana Mendoza distributed $429 million in overdue payments. 

However – this money can only be used for certain categories like transportation costs and special education programs. 

The next general state aid payment is set to be sent out on August 20th

However if no school funding bill is signed into law more checks will be delayed.