NOKOMIS COMMUNITY UNIT SCHOOL DISTRICT #22
Dr. Scott E. Doerr, Superintendent
511 Oberle Street, Nokomis, IL 62075
Tel (217) 563-7311
Fax (217) 563-2549
Mrs. Rachelle McDowell Mr. Kevin Reedy Mr. Kevin McDonald
Nokomis Jr./Sr. High Principal North Elementary Principal Nokomis Jr./Sr. High Asst. Principal
LACK OF STATE FUNDING FORMULA
Now that the Illinois General Assembly has passed a budget, which includes appropriations for K-12 education funding, it is time to finalize the school funding process by enacting a school funding formula to distribute the appropriations as approved. The issue at hand is the budget calls for an evidence-based funding formula to be enacted to distribute funds through the General State Aide appropriation line. The new funding formula is supported by School Management Alliance as well as a vast majority of Superintendent’s around the State of Illinois, including myself. This new formula would give more resources (money) to those districts with a high concentration of at-risk students and low-income students. This new funding method would benefit Nokomis Schools in a positive manner.
The Illinois General Assembly passed Senate Bill 1, the new evidence-based funding formula in May. Now, it is up to the Governor to sign the bill so schools will be paid in a fair and equitable manner. Failure of the Governor to sign the bill or the General Assembly to override his veto will cause much distress on the Nokomis District. I urge each person within the Nokomis School District to call our elected leaders and provide them with information on how this affects our District and how it will affect you personally if the District is forced to shut down early because of a lack of funds. Governor Rauner can be reached at (217) 782-0244, Senator Manar can be reached at (618) 585-484, and Representative Bourne can be reached at (217) 324-5200.
At this point, we will plan to start the school year at our previously designated time. Teachers will begin with an Institute on Friday, August 25 and students will return to school for a full-day on Monday, August 28. The question that remains is how far can the District go without an educational funding formula that provides our bi-monthly General State Aid payments. The Nokomis Board of Education has had this discussion over the past months. With the State of Illinois still owing the District over $239,000 from last school year, it can be estimated that with our reserves, the District could feasibly stay open between 4 – 5 months. At that time, once all of our revenue has been exhausted, the District will have no choice but to close the doors! What does this mean? This means all public schools will be closed, licensed and non-certified employees will be laid off, all extra-curricular activities will be cancelled, and the total educational process will come to a halt, until such time that funding from the State starts flowing directly to the District(s). It also means that parents will be forced to find daycare providers for their children during this time.
The toxic climate in Springfield has become real. Political leaders want to the hold the funding formula bill “hostage” or for “leverage” to bargain other items on their agenda. This is not fair to the kids of Nokomis or around the State of Illinois. NOW is the time that the public stand up to our legislative and executive leaders in Springfield and tell them to do their JOB! As taxpayers, concerned citizens, and parents of the Nokomis School District, now is the time to engage in those conversations with our elected leaders and tell them that it is reasonable that our schools be adequately funded and in a timely manner for the kids of Nokomis and around the State.
Rest assured that the Nokomis Board of Education and I will continue to monitor the situation very closely. We are in the process of developing contingency plans to respond to the prospect of ZERO state dollars being allocated due to the lack of an adequate funding formula. As always, our goal is to open school on time and proceed without interruption; however that can only be determined by what happens in Springfield over the next few weeks.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. As always, thank you for your continued support of the Nokomis School District.
Yours in Education,
Dr. Scott E. Doerr, Superintendent