By Thomas Vogel
District 91 Supt. Lou Cavallo said Aug. 7 that the Forest Park schools will open as planned on Aug. 21. Programming will not be affected, he added, regardless of what happens downstate as Illinois lawmakers continue to disagree over a new school funding model.
"In the coming days, you will hear a great deal of speculation pertaining to whether schools will open in the fall," Cavallo said in an email to the Review. "We have been aware of, and planning for, the possibility of a reduction in revenue resulting from legislative action (or inaction, as the case may be) for some time."
The Illinois legislature approved a state budget July 6.
Lawmakers passed Senate Bill 1 in May, which included a new school funding model. Governor Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto Aug. 1, in part over funding to Chicago Public Schools. Lawmakers can now override Rauner's veto, agree to pass the bill with his revisions, or let the bill die. The first payment to local school districts is scheduled for Aug. 11.
D91 gets roughly 8 percent of its revenue from the state each year. But according to Cavallo, the school system has fund reserves to keep the district operating as planned. He did, however, caution that "the reserves will not last forever."
Cavallo said the district will continue to monitor the situation and make "contingency plans" as needed "to respond to the prospect of an ongoing impasse."