Recently state legislators passed a stopgap budget in Illinois, a quick fix to ensure state services and schools will continue through the fall.
Under the plan, social services will receive $673 million to be distributed among them, however some local not-for-profits, like Little Friends feel it’s not enough.
“This is just six months of breathing room so to speak. It’s a guarantee that our schools will open in August; it’s not a solution. It’s not the very real, structural, systemic reform that the state has to have. Without that, not just Little Friends, not just organizations in Naperville, but everyone will fail,” said President and CEO of Little Friends Inc., Kristi Landorf.
In an effort to increase their own financial responsibility Little Friends has consolidated as much as they can while still maintaining the same level of quality care they offer to those with autism.
“We’ve divested ourselves of some single family homes, we are in the process of relocating our center of autism which is on Chicago Avenue back to our main campus, both because it’s a good financial decision, but also a good strategic decision to house all of our core services here at the Naperville campus,” Landorf said.
Landorf hopes the next six months lead to more conversation and reform.
Also under the budget schools will receive $500 million more than they did last year for their full fiscal year, something that has allowed local District 203 some relief.
“It is positive that contained within the bill is assurances that districts will not receive any less money than they did last year, and there will be additional money put into education to fund the foundation level at 100 percent. What we can expect is approximately $300,000 more than what we received in the recent fiscal year, and that is a positive,” said Superintendent of District 203, Dan Bridges.
While the plan offers certainty in terms of funding for this year, Bridges agrees, reform is still needed.
“It’s not the long term plan we hoped for in terms of school funding but we know now what we are going to get and how to plan,” Bridges.
Naperville News 17’s Natalie Vitale reports.
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