Tri States Public Radio Staff
Fri February 3, 2012
Districts Will Make Case for More Transportation Money
A West-Central Illinois educator says the state's rural school districts will make a case to state lawmakers to stop cuts in transportation funding.
Governor Pat Quinn cut transportation funding by $89 million in July. The cuts caught school districts by surprise.
Some, like West Prairie, were able to use transportation funds saved from previous years.
Superintendent Jonathan Heerboth said his district won't have that luxury next year if the state cuts transportation funding again. He said districts must be more pro-active in pointing out the difficulties and costs of safely transporting students to and from school safely.
Heerboth feels legislators from the region understand the difficulties of transporting students long distances every day.
The West Prairie District encompasses 240 square miles.
He said, “They see the need for extensive and expensive transportation in rural areas, particularly. The General Assembly, as a whole however, may or may not understand that. I certainly don't know what the governor's thinking is here.”
He said his district has cut costs by delaying the purchase of buses. Next year, the district will have to purchase one and possibly two buses.
Heerboth said if the state makes further cuts to transportation funding, districts will have to come up with the money from other funds. Either education or operations will inevitably suffer.