MARION, IL (KFVS) - The financial woes for the State of Illinois continue taking a toll on school districts across the state.
Currently the state is behind more than six months in reimbursement payments to school districts.
And the upcoming fiscal picture doesn't look any better for the state or schools
The Marion Unit 2 district is anticipating another 20% cut in state funds for the fiscal year 2013-2014. Those cuts in funds will put the school district more than $1.6-million dollars in the red.
And now the school board has some tough decisions to make. What programs to keep, who to keep on staff and what to cut in order to balance their budget.
One of the proposed cuts is to shutdown the Marion High School Extension Center. The center has been part of the school district for the past 10 years.
And it was open to give students the chance to make up their credits and graduate on time with their other classmates.
"We help them with life skills, we help them develop emotionally," said Principal Kim Burns. "We help them get on track and graduate on time. So they can go on and become successful members of our community."
The program is a voluntary one for students, no one makes them go to the center. But the kids who do choose to go there know it's their last chance at graduating.
"I need a new start, so I came out here and made up all my credits," said Troy Slinkard. "It's brought my grade point average up tremendously. And I have a chance to go to college now."
And the students who do attend the center for their classes don't always see it as their last resort.
"If it wasn't available in the future I probably wouldn't even go to college," said Breanna Thomas. " I would probably have a low paying job. And wouldn't really have much to show for in my life."
Over the past ten years the center has graduated more than 300 students who otherwise might not have done so on their own.
"It's more about kind of discovering your own self worth. And what your abilities are," Thomas said.
The school board is scheduled to meet on the evening of March 7th to make their final decisions about the proposed cuts for the upcoming fiscal year.