A great crowd turned out at the informational meeting that was held in the Taylorville High School cafeteria, as the Taylorville Community Unit School District #3 Board briefed the public on a number of FY17 budget cut considerations that could total more than $680,000. They include eliminating junior high and freshman athletics programs, moving K-3 students from Stonington Elementary to North and Memorial, reduce six teaching positions, reduce 4 support staff positions, and reduce existing budget items.
Board President Steve Milling opened with remarks followed by Superintendent Dr. Gregg Fuerstenau. Fuerstenau noted the operating rate in the education fund hasn’t increased since 1978.
Fuerstenau said a plan is out there, which is State Senator Andy Manar’s Senate Bill 1, which is a school funding reform bill that makes funding more equitable to schools in downstate Illinois. Fuerstenau says Taylorville has a 56% poverty rate according to the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), which is far less than schools up north.
State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) pointed out Governor Rauner included a change of a school funding formula during his State of the State Address, not take any funding away from districts, but would add money in rural and impoverished areas.
Fuerstenau stated in terms of categorical payments in special education, the State told them they will receive $350,000. Instead, they received $3,000.
Following Fuerstenau’s recap, the public provided their input on the situation.