Two Democratic state senators are calling on their fellow legislators to support an override of Gov. Pat Quinn's decision to veto funds for school transportation and regional superintendent pay. The governor wants to shift the financial burden of the transportation and superintendent salary to local governments. State Senators Gary Forby (D-Benton) and John Sullivan (D-Rushville) say the lack of state funding puts an undue burden on rural communities.
“Some bus routes in rural school districts in western Illinois cover hundreds of miles, and when you slash their budget, it’s not like they can just stop picking up students,” Sen. Sullivan said in a press release. “I supported a budget that made fair and equitable cuts across the board, and with many downstate school districts still coping with the massive cuts delivered just last year, I cannot support this additional cut that so disproportionately disadvantages downstate Illinois. I encourage my colleagues to stand with Senator Forby and I in restoring funding to school transportation budgets.”
The senators argue that communities downstate simply can't bare the brunt of another round of funding cuts considering the transportation budget was reduced by one-third last year; adding that any loss of money will directly affect the quality of education in the classroom.
“Transportation funding is vital here in Southern Illinois,” Sen. Forby added. “Our school districts downstate will be crushed with the loss of these funds. Money that could have been put back into the classroom will have to go towards transportation costs and that’s not something that a lot of schools in my district can afford to take on. I hope legislators will realize the importance of this issue and override the governor’s veto when we go back in session.”
Yesterday, the regional superintendents announced that they decided not to appeal a Sangamon County judge's ruling against their request for immediate payment.