Illinois Governor signs bill to keep Illinois public schools running

Published: Jun. 25, 2015 at 9:47 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 25, 2015 at 9:48 PM CDT
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(KFVS) - The Education Appropriations Bill Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into Law on Thursday is clearing up some worries educators have had in recent months.

One real struggle was an attempt to get any sort of spending plan for early childhood and secondary education on the table, in order to avoid delayed openings of public schools across the state.

“There's gonna be plenty of other cuts, and there's a lot of turmoil yet to be resolved.” Explained Paul Simon Public Policy Institute Director and political analyst David Yepsen on Thursday, “but the idea that Illinois schools couldn't open their doors on time would just be a huge thing that would upset tens of thousands of parents.”

The new plan allots $269 Million more than schools statewide received in 2014, which Franklin/Williamson Co. Regional Superintendent Matt Donkin says will help.

“It won't fix all of our problems, but this is definitely a good sign.” Donkin said over the phone on Thursday, “We had quite a few educators, staff, and programs in limbo until now, and now we have some assurance.”

“It tells me that there are compromises that are going on,” Yepsen said, “that they're inching closer to a deal that everybody can live with.”

“Education is the most important.” Explained parent and baseball coach Jason Fisher, “these kids who don't have these opportunities don't go on to college or trade school or anything like that… You have to have them well-prepared, they have to be well rounded.”

Donkin said that some of the programs in the area that were at risk before Wednesday included regional safe schools, early childhood education programs, some advanced placement programs, arts and foreign language programs, FFA chapters, among others.

With the new bill, those programs are expected to be funded for operation, but Donkin explained that he is still learning the details on what the boost will mean for local education as a whole.

When asked what budget concerns remained, Donkin explained that him and his colleagues are an example. Due cuts that are still and already in place, he will soon be the regional superintendent of Franklin, Johnson, Massac, and Williamson counties, instead of just Franklin and Williamson. “We're going to be filling a gap left by 9 officers leaving.”

“There's plenty of things in Springfield still in the works,” Explained Yepsen, “but This shows that there's movement on a larger state budget, and that's important.”

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