Area School Administrator Says Schools Are Preparing For The Fall Without a State Budget

Jun 22, 2017

Educators across the state are anxiously watching the special session in Springfield.

The lack of a budget for K through 12 schools has some wondering if they'll have to alter their calendars for the upcoming academic year.

Matt Donkin is an outgoing Regional Superintendent of Schools and incoming District Superintendent of Schools in West Frankfort.
"I think everybody's watching their gas gauge, so to speak, to see how much they have. Certainly, if they have funds I would expect that they would be starting, but it's a matter of how long. You can't imagine us being in this scenario yet again and playing chicken."

The West Frankfort district is on the state's financial watch list. Donkin says the budget impasse makes it harder for districts to improve.

"It's like everything, you take care of what you can, figuring we can do better plans going forward at some point when we have a little more certainty. That's what everybody in education across the state is dealing with; the counties are dealing with it, all kinds of groups."

Donkin says if there is a budget deal, he doesn't expect it will come until right up to the end of the fiscal year on June 30th. But, even then, he says schools would have to wait to see if Governor Rauner signs it.

As the outgoing Regional Superintendent of Schools in Williamson, Franklin, Johnson and Massac counties, he anticipates all the schools in those four areas will start in August, with or without a budget.

Although no district in the area is in good financial shape, Donkin says schools are a little better off in counties where their property tax cycles are quicker.