Table Grove, IL – While many west central Illinois school districts are slashing budgets and cutting staff, programs and everything in between -- at least one district is bucking the trend.
V.I.T. has actually agreed to add staff in the face of an unprecedented shortfall in state funding.
Superintendent John Marshall says school board members have agreed to hire two high school teachers (one agriculture, one business), an evening custodian for the elementary school, and a half-time school psychologist.
Marshall says the hires will replace those who have resigned or retired. So the district isn't exactly increasing its payroll, but Marshall says it's still unusual given the state's budget crisis.
Marshall says a public decision from a few years ago is helping the district's current situation.
"They voted in an extremely high ed. fund rate, which is $3.75," says Marshall. "So we generate quite a bit more local money in the education fund than the average district."
Marshall says V.I.T. has about $2.2 million in reserve, plus an estimated $2.5 million in its building and transportation funds.
He says the district is using a "hurry up and wait" approach to determine what to do about the funding situation. He says the district's unusually high education fund rate plus reserves have allowed it to overcome an estimated $200,000 shortfall in state funding. But the same might not be true next year.
Marshall could not say whether V.I.T. will have to make decisions similar to those in Galesburg, Monmouth-Roseville, Macomb, West Prairie, or Illini West. He says such decisions will have to wait until the next school year.