Shrinking state funding forces Pikeland School Board to make cuts

Posted: Mar. 21, 2013 12:17 am Updated: Apr. 11, 2013 1:15 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

PITTSFIELD, Ill. -- The Pikeland School Board has cut three teachers, seven support staff, five bus drivers and days or hours from teachers with extended contracts for the 2013-14 year.

Superintendent Paula Hawley said shrinking state funding prompted the cuts to reduce an anticipated deficit.

As of Wednesday, the state owed the district $373,196. Hawley expects that number to double by this time next month if categorical payments due in late March don't arrive.

State aid payments prorated at 89 percent for this school year, combined with other missing payments, stand to cost the district $1 million this year.

"We always had state aid in a very timely manner, but the people in Springfield have chosen not to make that a priority," Hawley said. "Next year we're hearing it may be 80 percent, another $500,000 loss on top of what we had this year. We have to look at next year and what we can do to get through."

Some of the staff could be rehired based on numbers in special education, kindergarten and pre-kindergarten in the next school year.

Hawley said board members will decide over the summer what type of pre-K program to offer.

"Maybe we can serve 4-year-olds next year, have part of a program. It depends what the state does. We'll watch through the summer," Hawley said. "We may not have the program at all."