Parents and teachers at local Town Hall for school funding reform
The clock ticks down; just two days until the budget deadline. Educators are urging lawmakers to make school funding a priority.
At a town hall in Macon County on Wednesday night, some teachers say urgency is an understatement.
One mother said the uncertainty behind school funding and a state budget is even changing the way her children think.
“It affects our entire family,” Rebecca Wattleworth said.
Wattleworth, a teacher and mother of three, said her kids are afraid of becoming educators because of Illinois' budget instabilities.
"It's very scary,” she said. “Very scary for education, for teachers, and more so for students because we don't know where this is going to be if they don't pass this (SB1)."
Without state funding, schools will be forced to dip into cash reserves.
Decatur schools say they would have to close in February; Springfield schools could close as early as December.
"It's just unfathomable,” one parent Kristi Harjung said, “You can't think that way. We have to move forward, I appreciate what they’re doing tonight because we have to start speaking out as a community saying ‘this is important, this is what we need’. And I’m not sure why they're not thinking that over there. I don't know if they're not in the same situation or if they're not parents but we need to start thinking that way.”
At a town hall in Warrensburg, some parents and teachers say schools are neglected and that lawmakers need to pass the school funding reform (SB1) for merit which distributes money to schools on an evidence-based model.
"So every kid,” said the Executive Director of Teach Plus, Joshua Kaufmann, “- In Illinois, regardless of where he or she is born, deserves the access to an excellent education, and were not seeing that right now... I hope as the negotiations go on in the next couple of days that is one of the things that is passed."
“It's shocking,” Wattleworth said. “And I just really feel for the kids. I mean all of us are in education for the kids and to cost them education I mean it's going to affect us all one way or anything how the students are educated and what they're going to be able to produce for Illinois, future Illinois citizens. It's going be a problem. "
Governor Bruce Rauner is planning on vetoing the reform for what he's calling a "bailout" for Chicago Public Schools.
There's also a Republican school bill out there (SB1124), which cuts back on Chicago funding.