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Metro East leaders call for increased dollars for elementary and high schools


From Illinois Business Journal news services

SPRINGFIELD – Another legislative call was made Wednesday to increase school funding in Illinois.

State Reps. Mike Smiddy, D-Hillsdale, and Jay Hoffman, D-Swansea, and state Sen. James Clayborne, D-Belleville, along with school superintendents called on the governor and the Legislature to increase the state’s financial investment for elementary and high schools.

“To make sure our children are prepared to solve the challenges of tomorrow, we have to make investments in education now, and we can’t let politics stand in the way,” Smiddy said. “We call on the governor and members of the General Assembly to strengthen the state’s investment in our students’ education, increase funding for our schools and make sure our schools open on time.”

School districts in Smiddy’s Quad Cities region and Hoffman’s and Clayborne’s Metro East rely upon the state for needed resources to help provide for students’ education, but many schools across the state have seen their state assistance decrease. Superintendent of Riverdale (Port Byron) Schools Ron Jacobs and St. Clair County Regional Superintendent of Schools Susan Sarfaty joined Smiddy and Hoffman in calling for an increase in resources to give students a fair shot at success after high school.

“Districts in our area don’t have the luxury of a large income from property taxes to sustain us in difficult times,” Jacobs said. “We need an investment that increases students’ access to technology and tools they’ll need after graduation or our kids future’s will suffer.”

Illinois is in the 11th month of a budget stalemate for the current fiscal year that began July 1, which has led to service interruptions for many state programs. Smiddy and Hoffman are calling for cooperation to ensure the impasse does not prevent schools from opening on time in the next fiscal year.

“Providing a first-class education for every child in our communities is one of the most important responsibilities we have as state leaders, and we can’t allow our students to get behind,” Hoffman said. “A number of schools in the Metro East are hanging by a thread financially. They need greater resources to deliver the education students deserve.”

“Our students, teachers and families deserve better than the uncertainty they are being forced to endure,” Sarfaty said. “We are fortunate to have strong communities, supportive families and excellent teachers in our communities, but the quality of our schools will suffer without an increased investment in our schools.”

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