School transportation state funding to remain the same

Jun 11, 2013

The budget lawmakers approved would keep school transportation funding next year the same as this year.  But as IPR’S Chris Slaby reports, Illinois school districts still face financial struggles.
Lawmakers say they were able to accomplish this because of what they call the "April surprise," when Illinois collected an extra one-point-five billion dollars in tax revenue. Anthony Galindo is the superintendent of the Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley district.  He says the "surprise" amounts to an extra 300-thousand dollars there.

"We were getting ready to look at ways we'd have to adjust our routes or even make bus stops types of things. Change our routes to make bus stops not do door-to-door type of things."

But Galindo says even with the extra funds, the state still owes his district money. He says Illinois paid only about 65-percent of the district's transportation costs last year. With next year's funding on pace to be the same as this year's, Galindo says his district is looking at a two-year deficit of more than a half-million dollars.

"We don't have have a lot of options for gaining revenues, I mean revenues are pretty well set for us. But if you're going to do any major reductions, it will be in staff."

Galindo says that doesn't necessarily mean layoffs. Instead, vacant jobs might go unfilled, and teachers could be asked to take on larger class sizes.