This past week you have likely heard a lot of talk about the new school funding bill. While it's been debated for quite some time, things progressed quickly this week. As I write this, the House and Senate have passed the new legislation. The Governor has praised the compromise bill, and indicated he will sign it quickly. The Comptroller has indicated as soon as it is signed, she will start cutting checks to schools for their missed payments. 

It has been quite a process for the state of Illinois. We have not had a budget for several years. Then we have a budget, but it didn't include a school funding formula. We watched plenty of political theater over the past few weeks leading up to this legislation being sent to the Governor. We know the general themes and topics of legislation when it is passed, but we do not know the specific impact until all the lines of the law have been read, and then agencies determine just how to implement the new law. There are lots of details to filter in the next few months. My intention will be to study the new legislation (and rules that come with that) through the lens of "What does this mean for our students, our staff, and EPG?" Here's my first take on that. 

1) EPG is more fiscally sound than the majority of downstate districts. 
There are a number of school districts across the state who did not have the funds to make their September payroll. Several schools were going to have to borrow from next year's taxes or shut down. EPG is a financially stable district with great community support. The Board and administrators are committed to continually improving educational opportunities while soundly managing the district's resources. We will focus on being thoughtful and responsible with taxpayer dollars. 

2) Schools are going to recoup state aid payments that were missed (and likely very soon). 
Comptroller Susana Mendoza has put out a press release indicating that her office is prepared to cut checks as soon as she can: "I have prepared my Office to release an estimated $540 million in General State Aid owed to schools for the month of August as soon as the Governor signs the bill and after the State Board of Education transmits these vouchers to my Office. It is anticipated these payments will be issued within the next few days." There are few steps to the process before that, but it seems it will be resolved quickly.  

3) The new state funding formula will not change a lot at EPG. 
There will certainly be changes in reporting requirements, exact dollars received, and other procedures to follow. We will review and consider all the changes brought about by the new legislation. However the design of the funding formula is to give a boost to the neediest districts based on needs of students. While about 1 in 3 students at EPG are considered low income, there are many districts throughout the state with significantly higher percentages than that. The first several years, those are the districts that will benefit most. Those are the districts who need it the most. While there will be good things and bad things about the new legislation, I am one who really does believe in the funding formula (which is part of the new legislation) that was put forward by Vision 20/20, was part of Senator Barrickman's bill, and does create a much healthier funding system for public schools in Illinois. 

4) The state of Illinois didn't cure its fiscal crisis.
All who care about public education students can be happy this school funding debacle is coming to a close. We should celebrate the drastic reform of the funding formula. But it does not do anything to fix the financial condition of the state of Illinois. We should not be caught off guard when the election cycle rolls around in a few months. While EPG in itself is fiscally stable, our state is not. We know that will certainly have plenty implications for all of us who live and work in Illinois in the months ahead. 

5) It's more than just money that makes EPG a strong school.
In spite of the mess the state is in, EPG is a great place to live, work, and go to school. That's not because we can pay the bills. It's because we have a tremendously supportive community. EPG is filled with families that really care about our schools. We have talented and dedicated staff. We have great kids. We will tackle the challenges together for the good of our students, our staff, and EPG. 

Athletics/Activities

El Paso - Gridley CUSD#11 provides several opportunities for students to participate in extracurricular activities.

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Documents/Files

Click below to find and download/view documents related to El Paso Gridley CUSD #11. Board of Education, budget and other files are all available here.

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Titans Online

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