General Assembly Update
The last few weeks of the regularly scheduled session of the General Assembly is upon us. Many daunting issues are being dealt with in the legislature, many of which revolve around the budget and its issues. It appears that nothing is sacred in this years state budget. Everything is on the table from substantial cuts to state government, changes to pensions and cuts to Medicaid (which is the state's program for providing health benefits to those who are in need). Education could face cuts in excess of $700 million dollars if the legislature are unable to find substantial savings in other key areas. Currently the Illinois State Board of Education is discussing how to best handle a potential cut of this magnitude. Continued cuts to transportation is something that they are still considering. What once was a reliable revenue, the General State Aid formula, the ISBE is now considering additional deeper pro-rating. In our current budget, the General State Aid was not paid at 100%, but rather 95%. They are considering pro-rating GSA as deep as 86%! This would come as a significant blow to the Education funds of most school districts throughout the State of Illinois. Why is this important to Unit #20? It is important because, even though our district has historically managed the tax payers dollars very well and have been able to build up reserves. Potential cuts like this would eat away at those fund balance very quickly forcing us (along with most school districts) to look at areas of our programming that would need to be cut. We are proud of the fact that Unit #20 hasn't had to make major cuts over the last several years, and this is something that we will work hard to avoid. The goal is to provide the best educational system possible for the boys and girls while being fiscally responsible.
If you are concerned about how the state budget will impact your schools, I encourage you to contact your legislator and voice your opinion.