Hard Road Ahead for Some School Districts

Hard Road Ahead for Some School Districts
By: Arnold Wyrick

CARTERVILLE, Ill. - The constant bickering and political posturing back and forth between legislators and Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich is leaving many school districts in financial trouble.
Currently the state is paying districts based upon last year's enrollment figures.  For some it's not enough to make ends meet during the current school year.
Now, some additional funding  from the state through the Foundation Funding Program could be in jeopardy too.
"For us you can take $400 times 1,700 students and you can figure out what that amount is.  So when you start negotiating salaries, looking at adding staff, looking at adding equipment, and supplies, it's based on that kind of figure," said Carterville Superintendent Tim Bleyer.
For Superintendent Bleyer's district, the additional funds under the program add up to more than $600,000 additional dollars in state funding to help keep things going in his schools.
"It holds up progress.  It holds up supplies.  It holds up long term commitments towards staff and reducing class sizes, those types of things because you just don't want to spend the money unless you have it," Bleyer said.
Bleyer says there's no way to make up those funds from another source.  The district would have to dip into it's reserves to balance the budget.
It's a frustrating place to be in, not even halfway through the school year.
"I think people are just tired of the political games.  And it's catching school kids, state union employees, prison guards and everyone in the middle," Bleyer said.
Now all the school districts and other state supported entities can do is sit and wait for the best as legislators head back to Springfield in November.