SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — School transportation officials across the state have been hit with some tough news from the governor’s office.
Gov. Pat Quinn’s Office of Management and Budget has announced its intention to cut the regular transportation payment to school districts for the fiscal year 2011 fourth quarter.
“This would not be a delay as you have seen with the first three payments, but rather would be an elimination of funding,” State Superintendent Christopher Koch said in a newsletter last week.
State pupil transportation director Cinda Meneghetti told SBF that “everyone is watching and listening for anything new, as it was quite shocking to hear that this would even be considered.”
Officials from School District U-46 in Elgin, which has one of the largest school bus fleets in the state, reported that the impact of the cut on the district would be $1 million in reimbursements for transporting regular-education students.
“School districts must still provide transportation,” U-46 said in its newsletter last week. “We must still pay for our fuel and maintenance, despite the fact that the state of Illinois already does not cover the full cost of transporting pupils.”
The district said that it has been in contact with state legislators, and it encouraged residents to contact the governor and “tell him to make good on the state’s transportation obligations.”
Koch said that his office has been working with the governor’s office “to underscore the importance of these transportation funds to school districts and thereby avoid any such reduction.”