State budgets cuts worry local school officials - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

State budgets cuts worry local school officials

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The Illinois State Board of Education is looking to cut $1 billion from its budget next year.

Local superintendents say that number is a lot higher than previously thought, and they are concerned for the future of education.

((See: State Superintendent: education cuts 'devastating'))

Payson CUSD #1 Superintendent Donna Veile says if more bad news keeps coming down the pipeline from Springfield, next year when kids head back to class, they could notice some major changes.

Elementary teacher Bernice Neisen isn't surprised to hear more bad news when it comes to budget cuts.
   
"This is not good, it has been very challenging in recent years," Neisen said.
   
"It's not a district spending problem, it's a state revenue problem," Veile said.
   
Veile said just in the past four years, the state has cut more than $500,000 from the district. Currently state aid for the district is pro-rated at 89 percent. But Veile says new budget projections could dock that number to 80 percent.   
   
"We've made cuts already to try to offset the lack of revenue coming in. We've cut school buses, we've cut routes, we've cut personnel," Veile said.
   
Neisen says many teachers have already been digging into their own pockets to provide classroom supplies.
   
"I have gone to yard sales, and that is nothing new just to pick up books. I bring lots of materials from home," Neisen said.
   
If the cuts go deeper than previously thought, Neisen says the first thing to go could be classroom equipment. In particular, technology. A necessity she says has already been a struggle to get.
   
"At the end of last school year we had a garage bake sale to finish equipping the regular classrooms with smart-boards," Neisen said.
   
"The kids that we should be worried most about, are the ones that are going to be hit. It's the programs, it's the staff. That's what's scary about all the cuts being made, it's going to end up affecting the kids," Veile said.

Veile says as of right now, the district doesn't want to cut any classroom or extracurricular programs at Payson. However, she says a committee will be meeting in the next couple of months to decide if that's even possible.
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