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This time of year, local school districts around Illinois are looking at next year’s budget. Many, if not most districts are looking at a lot of red ink.

Kevin Daugherty heads up the state Ag in the Classroom project, and also is president of the local school board in Leroy, Illinois. Daugherty says declining funding from the state has put school districts in a bind, and many of the cuts hit rural districts the hardest.

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But State Senator Jason Barickman, Republican from Central Illinois, says there are things the state can do now to relieve the financial burden on schools, then look to major funding reform next year.

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Meanwhile there are several proposals to change the state school funding formula and find more money for education, but that is hard to do with the huge budget crunch in Springfield. This year, dealing with the state’s budget woes will consume all the energy in the Statehouse.

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