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Mahomet-Seymour School Funding

Updated: Monday, July 14 2014, 10:17 AM CDT

MAHOMET-SEYMOUR -- Last month, Illinois schools received notice that mandated categorical payments, backlogged for years would finally be paid out. This covered special education programs, transportation etc. It totaled $400.000.00 for the Mahomet-Seymour school district.


Rick Johnston, School District Superintendent says "when the public hears ok they're caught up on the $400,000.00 that they owed us for this year…on the surface that sounds good, but the real issue is the general state aid proration".


General state aid funds are used for everyday operational costs for school districts to use at their discretion. It covers teacher's salaries, utilities, classroom supplies and more. The aid was cut from a 100% payoff to 89% in the last few years.


"For us, you take the $400,000 that they owed us, that was vouchered and we knew we would get some day, you compare it to the proration that's occurred in the last three years, that's $2.3 million over the last three years that we will never see again", Johnston says.


Rural school districts like Mahomet-Seymour rely heavily on general state aid because they don’t have as much commercial property as larger towns. Most of their revenue comes from the local tax base, which is residential property and farm ground.


"And so for us, that $900,000 a year, where we have to start in the hole when we build our budget for $900,000 as we start to build a budget for that year, that puts us at a huge disadvantage right out of the gate", Johnston says.


The superintendent says especially with the upcoming election, there has to be a solution for school funding to improve.


"We've got to find a way to come to some middle ground because you can't cut your way out of our situation and you can’t tax your way out of our situation", says Johnston.


The superintendent says the town is working hard to bring new businesses and industry into the area, but until then, the general state aid prorate will continue to affect them. They say it's money that could support student's educational studies even more.


We reached out to State Comptroller Judy Barr Topinka's office to get a comment on this story. We haven't yet heard back.

Mahomet-Seymour School Funding


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