State Budget Crisis
Adams County Residents,
The financial situation in the State of Illinois continues to deteriorate. Over the past decade bond ratings plummeted, deficits grew, state bills left unpaid, and school funding withheld. Those problems continue as the deadlock in Springfield has reached new heights. Illinois has not had a budget since the end of June 2015. The impact has been disastrous to social services, medical providers, universities, and our local schools.
Governor Bruce Rauner and Speaker Michael Madigan have dug in their heels. Governor Rauner insists on items from his “Turnaround Agenda”. Speaker Madigan refuses to send a budget to the Governor. In spite of some efforts on the part of senators and representatives throughout the state, the two most powerful men in Illinois have shown little willingness to work toward a solution.
This past fiscal year the only entity of state government that has had a budget was K-12 public schools. The tension between both sides has heightened throughout this year. The unwillingness to work together has led to indications there may be no state budget for the next fiscal year beginning July 1, 2016. More disturbing is rhetoric that indicates there will be no budget for K-12 education either. Roughly half of the funding for public schools in Adams County comes from the state budget. Without a budget in place by July 1st, Liberty, Payson, Unity, Central, and Quincy Public Schools will lose approximately $1,000,000 monthly in lost state funding which we may never recover. Aside from a small amount of federal funds we receive, our local money would be all that was left to cover the full cost of public schools. Currently, many of our local school districts have exhausted their majority of their local funds and will not have those resources available.
The public school districts in Adams County have worked hard to provide excellent education for our students while being fiscally responsible. That is true in spite of a state funding formula that favors wealthy schools. Our districts spent between $8,225 and $9,660 per student in fiscal year 2015. The average spending per student in Illinois that year was over $12,000. Some districts spend more than $31,000 per pupil (www.illinoisreportcard.com). Our local school districts have been careful and prudent in how we spend the limited resources we have. Unfortunately, our elected representatives have failed to fulfill their obligation to fund the state’s portion of education on their end. We’ve done our job and we ask that our state elected leaders do their job for the students in Adams County.
Some districts throughout Illinois will be unable to open school in the fall without the money that comes from a state budget. Fortunately, that is not the case in Adams County at this time. However, if the budget impasse continues and the state does not provide school funding for our schools on July 1, then our local schools will have a more difficult time in starting up school in the Fall.
Together, the students of Adams County need your help. We have elected our legislators to represent us in Springfield. We highly encourage you to contact them and share your thoughts and feelings on the need to fund our schools. Call them. Email them. Write them. Let them know there must be a budget for the state of Illinois. Let them know:
The biggest issue when representatives were elected was providing state funding for our schools and social services. That issue cannot be ignored any longer.
Public schools in Adams County suffer greatly with no budget and our schools will continue to be forced to cut programs and offerings without state aide.
The General Assembly and Governor must establish a budget for fiscal year 2017. School districts are required to submit and approve annual budgets, the State should honor that same process.
Residents of Adams County, let’s come together on behalf of our schools. Our elected representatives are currently in Springfield. Please take the time to contact our legislators and the leaders in Springfield and let them know it is time to get something accomplished.
Whether you are a Panther, Indian, Eagle, Blue Devil, or Mustang, we hope you will join together with us in advocating for our kids.
CUSD # 1 Payson Superintendent
CUSD # 2 Liberty Superintendent
CUSD # 3 Central Superintendent
CUSD # 4 Mendon Superintendent
CUSD #172 Superintendent