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Time running out for local school districts in need of funding bill

EAST MOLINE - Administrators around the state say a bill in the Illinois Senate is the best chance for change that would eventually lead to funding equality for all districts.

In just a few weeks students will head back to school, but for many school districts in Illinois, the questions are how long will students be able to stay in class?

"Realistically speaking if general state aid isn`t flowing when our first payment is supposed to be here on August 12th we would not have enough cash for the school district to run past October 1st without finding outside funding," said Kristin Humphries, Superintendent for East Moline School District.

While lawmakers were able to get a budget passed, they haven't passed a bill that would release funds for schools.

Proponents for SB1 say it's a bill that would not only do that but would for the first time in more than a decade provide equal funding for all school districts.

"They`ve looked at it and said the way we`re doing right now doesn`t make a lot of sense and that this does it allows the distribution of funds go where they need to go," said parent, Audrey Adamson.

Thursday night, a special town hall meeting was held to educate parents on the benefits of SB1.

However, Governor Rauner has already said he'll veto the bill because he thinks it's a Chicago Public Schools bailout.  It would be left up to once again lawmakers to override the governor's promised veto.

"It's my hope that kind of cooperation can continue we can find some reasonable middle ground if that's necessary to get something even if the governor wants to be an obstructionist on the issue," said State Representative, Mike Halpin (D) Rock Island.

For districts like East Moline, its running out of option and time, "We`ve cut art from our elementary schools. We're down to one music teacher for four elementary schools and this spring we cut nine reading teachers and you don`t cut reading. That's where we are right now in East Moline," said Humphries.

Some area school districts would benefit more than others from the new funding formula.

The Rock Island/Milan School District would get an extra $2 million in state funding.

East Moline and United Township High School would get $1 million.

Silvis would get the least with only about $175,000.

The new funding formula takes into account current funding levels, the district's property tax revenue and compares that to a target amount the district needs to properly educate each student. The money goes first to the districts with the largest difference in those numbers.