That sigh of relief you heard Thursday was that of school superintendents throughout the state — including Edgar County — when Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the new school funding bill.
It appeared for a time the state’s school districts would be held hostage by the continued standoff between Rauner and Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. We’re not sure cooler heads prevailed but perhaps someone finally gave the two men — who were acting like spoiled children — a rap across the knuckles and told them to get over it.
Those of our readers who remember the late Sen. Harry “Babe” Woodyard will remember he frequently argued for changes in the school aid formula. His calls fell on deaf ears at that time, but we’d like to think Babe would approve of the school funding formula.
The truth is, we need more people like Babe Woodyard in government. While he was a Republican, Babe extended a hand across the aisle in both the Illinois Senate and Illinois General Assembly. That’s something that many currently serving should remember.
We are proud of our present State Sen. Chapin Rose, who fought for the schools in his district — and all downstate Illinois — during these racaous negotiations this past month. On more than one occasion, Rose publicly blasted proposals that would take money away from Edgar County students. He stood up for us and for that we thank him.
Now it’s time for our state leaders to get over their case of cranial inversion and go about the business of getting Illinois back on its feet. As quickly as possible, the State Board of Education needs to run the numbers of what state aid totals will look like for every school district so they know where they stand.
The state also needs to come up with some sort of plan to catch up the hundreds of millions of dollars in categorical and state aid monies that were not distributed to schools during the budget fiasco. The districts are owed that money and the state needs to pay it.
Perhaps now we can pull our state out of the mire and move forward.