SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — School districts in Illinois will eventually get their fiscal year 2011 fourth quarter regular transportation payments, which had been targeted to be cut by the governor’s budget office.
“Fortunately, a quick and targeted plea to local and state legislators put a halt to this action,” said Ed Hightower, superintendent of Edwardsville (Ill.) School District 7. But he noted that the payments will be delayed.
News of the planned cut had led local and state school officials to reach out to lawmakers and the public for support. State Superintendent Christopher Koch had said that his office was working with the governor’s office “to underscore the importance of these transportation funds to school districts and thereby avoid any such reduction.”
Although the fourth quarter payment was saved, a new challenge surfaced for Illinois’ school transportation community. State pupil transportation director Cinda Meneghetti said that Gov. Pat Quinn has now eliminated from his budget about $89 million in school transportation funding — out of a total of about $643 million — for the 2011-12 school year. But that cut could potentially be restored.
“It could be vetoed by both houses [of the Illinois General Assembly] in the fall,” Meneghetti told SBF.