Oblong facing budget woes with help from community

OBLONG, Ill. (WTHI) Oblong schools this year got another source of help coming in and it’s from the community.

We’ve told you about Illinois schools budget problems in the past. Each story is a little different, but the same problem: a lack of funding from the state. However, one school district is getting help from outside the school house walls.

Oblong high school in Illinois, the scene has changed, but the story remains the same; a rural Illinois school district with a budget shortfall.

“The primary cause of the decrease of revenue from the state is through the General State Aid pro rate,” Oblong Schools Superintendent Jeff Patchett said.

As Patchett explained one number stands out on his spread sheet: 89%. That’s the amount of the Oblong school district budget that the state of Illinois is funding. In the past they funded 100%.

“We recently, last month, sold $700,000 worth of bonds to help increase revenue to make up for the pro-rate,” Patchett said.

“We’ve had our academic foundation pledge $40,000 so we didn’t have to cut an additional program. We’ve had our sports boosters pledge $20,000 so we didn’t have to make more cuts to sports,” Patchett said.

Looking at the students you can’t tell it’s a budget crunch. The math team is grabbing awards at competitions and the softball team suiting up as usual attacking spring once again.

“The thing about education and local school boards, and teachers and students we continue to take hits in this situation and we continue to finds ways to provide those programs,” Patchett said.

A district that is getting help for funding education, outside not only the state house walls, but beyond the school yard as well.

Superintendent Patchett is also Principal Patchett for the high school. The two positions were combined as a cost-saving measure.

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