Hope is in sight for previously cash-strapped East Moline School District

The East Moline School District nearly closed down because schools were not receiving money from the state of Illinois.

But, now that the Illinois General Assembly has passed a school funding bill, superintendents across the state are optimistic for their schools.

On Thursday, September 7, WQAD News 8 had “Breakfast With…” East Moline School District, Kristin Humphries to hear his thoughts on the bill.

In late August, Illinois lawmakers passed a school funding formula. Prior to passing the bill, there was a discrepancy in funding between wealthy and poor school districts. There was a $20,000 spending difference between some schools.

Now, the bill provides equal funding to all school districts across the state, no matter the zip code.

The bill also provides $75 million in tax credits for people who donate to private school scholarships. Superintendent Humphries says he’s not supportive of that part of the bill but says overall, it’s a step in the right direction.

“Unfortunately, I do not like that part of the bill but the part I do like is that is brings equity to the kids in East Moline and the state of Illinois. For the first time, we have a real chance to make a difference in children’s lives with our school funding formula,” said Humphries.

Because the district was in limbo with funding, 20 teachers had to be honorably dismissed. Now, with a bill in place, some teachers have been hired back. Superintendent Humphries says once the district receives all its funding, he hopes to rehire all positions.

“Now that the funding formula has been changed. We can look in the future and see what positions we haven’t replaced that we might be able to add in the future years,” said Humphries. “We will be able to operate as normal because educating our kids is what we need to do.”

When the future of the district was up in the air, tax payers saw the need to help the district and passed a local option sales tax, which helped the struggling district pay for construction projects.

“We’ve been able to do $19 million worth of construction work for new windows, lighting and air conditions. All of our buildings are now updated thanks to tax payers.”

To see where the tax money is being spent, click here:

Humphries says the district hopes to start lowering the tax levy now that it is expected to receive money from the state.

The district has yet to receive money from the state but remains hopeful. Schools will not know the amount they will receive until late December.

A special thank you to East Moline Coffee Company for hosting our “Breakfast With…”  Learn more about the shop here: