Stateline residents travel to Springfield to issue an SOS. “Save our schools” was the message from concerned citizens to state legislators at an education rally Wednesday.
"For Rockford it's extremely serious. If they do a balanced budget, they'll cut $26 million. That's a huge amount," says Donna McParlan, a Guilford High parent.
Rockford parents, students and educators traveled 200 miles to issue an SOS to legislators in Springfield. Two thirds of Illinois schools are in serious financial straits. Ralliers say the state needs to fix funding inequities and delays and stop mandating programs that don't come with funding
"There are an awful lot of mandates with no money attached," says School Board member Alice Saudargas.
One of the biggest concerns of local ralliers is the physical education requirement. They want the state to waive the mandate so programs like band and art can be saved.
McParlan says, "With the loss of the seventh hour that leaves only six choices for the kids and if PE is required then they're significantly limited in the number of academic classes they can have, particularly the electives.”
Stateliners met with state Senator Dave Syverson after the rally. The republican says education is a priority, but ralliers need to speak with one voice and decide on one plan that will work for everyone
"Some want the foundation level helped which helps districts in southern Illinois. Some want more money for suburban schools, some want lower property taxes, so it really has to be more specific," says Senator Syverson.
About 200 people attended the rally, including 30 from the stateline area.