Parents react to more possible school budget cuts by IL lawmaker - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Parents react to more possible school budget cuts by IL lawmakers

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HARRISBURG, IL (KFVS) -

Illinois lawmakers have until May 31 to get a budget plan in place and they're considering several ways to stretch their dollars.

One option includes making the temporary income tax hike, implemented in 2011, permanent to avoid major cuts to schools and social services.

Southern Illinois school districts are no stranger to budget cuts, but how do some feel about the option of raising taxes in order to put money back in the school system. It worries some parents on both sides of the issue.

During his budget address, Governor Pat Quinn warned of "extreme and radical" cuts if the state's current income tax rate drops back down to 3.75 percent; cuts which would include forced layoffs of 13,000 teachers.

But there's a proposal to make the temporary income tax permanent to avoid billions in loss revenue next year.

Lawmakers are also considering changing the state's tax code from a "flat" tax, where everyone pays the same rate.

This year some Saline County schools are already dealing with the problem, losing out on teachers and programs.

"It just breaks my heart that my kid can't experience what I experienced growing up," said Jennifer from Harrisburg.

For her 9-year-old daughter, music and art are programs that no longer exist at her school in Carrier Mills.

She said to place another tax burden on parents like herself, she thinks there is a better solution.

"I think a lot of it just goes back to the lawmakers who need to budget themselves a little better and they need to figure out what they need to do better to find the money instead of just always leaning on us," she said.

Kelly Rule has been driving her son to football practice in Marion after his school cut their football program.

More than ever, she doesn't want to see anymore cuts made and is willing to do what needs to be done to protect her kids' schools.

"My daughter is four and when she does get up to where she wants to start doing art or choir or sports, there is not going to be anything left," she said.

Lawmakers are also considering changing the state's tax code from a "flat" tax to a progressive tax, which taxes higher-earners more.

When asked which option local representatives favored, Representative Phelps said it's too early to tell.

They'll reconvene April 29, where Phelps said the budget will be their main focus.


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