Altamont School Supt. Says State Must Come Up With School Funding

First graders at Altamont Grade School.

First graders at Altamont Grade School.

Altamont School District

A small-town school district in Effingham County is holding a public meeting Monday evening, to let people know of what could happen if the governor and state lawmakers fail to agree on a budget before the next school year.

Superintendent Jeff Frichtnitch with the Altamont Community Unit 10 School District says he simply doesn’t know how long schools can stay open if state money isn’t available in the fall. He says scenarios he’s heard predicting no budget agreement until the fall are just not acceptable.

“Because quite honestly, if we wait until after November election, or an amendment vote to the constitution, which is what Speaker Madigan is suggesting, you’re going to see a ripple effect in the state that’s going to be catastrophic,” said Frichtnitch.

Frichtnitch is not predicting a school shutdown if there’s no state budget --- which he says would be the school board’s decision, not his. But he says he’s holding the meeting to let residents in his district know the difficulties ahead --- and so they can have facts on hand if they want to contact elected officials.

Frichtnitch says that even the state funding the Altamont School Board has received in recent years has fallen short of what the district should be receiving. He says the practice of “proration” has resulted in school districts like Altamont receiving only 92 percent of their allocation from the state --- and as low as 85 percent in some years.

Frichtnitch says the Altamont School Board has decided it won’t “enable” the state any more.

“It’s time to stop allowing the state to get away with not providing the revenue that they should be providing to public school systems,” said Frichtnitch. “They need to fix the problems with regarded to their revenue streams and their expenditures, just as we’ve done here locally in school systems.”

Altamont’s community meeting on school funding is set for Monday, April 25, at 7 PM in the Altamont High School Gym.

Story source: WILL