WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Schuyler-Industry Plans Technology Upgrades

Rushville, IL – The Schuyler-Industry school district is facing large deficits in state payments, but that doesn't mean technology upgrades and other projects will go by the wayside.

Superintendent Matt Plater says the district has been writing a grant to receive federal stimulus money since July, and it was just approved last week. Plater says the district now has roughly $264,000 it must spend by the end of this school year.

But he says spending that kind of money during a bad recession might send mixed signals.

"Our teachers are going to see me asking them not to take this field trip, or asking them not to buy this or that supply potentially," says Plater. "But at the same time they're going to get a 30 station wireless, portable computer lab for their school."

Plater says the grant money is dedicated, which means it can't be spent on bills or "keeping the lights on."

But the superintendent is grateful that early childhood and K-12 educational institutions around the state have not fared quite as poorly as other entities seeking state aid. Plater says the district is receiving general state aid payments, which fund a little more than 60 percent of Schuyler-Industry's operating budget.

Plater says the district's current state aid deficit is hovering around $500,000, but he says that number could skyrocket to more than $2 million by the end of the year if the state can not afford to give more than general state aid payments.

The Schuyler-Industry school board also set the levy for next school year at roughly $3.9 million, a 2.78 percent increase over this year's amount.