MURPHYSBORO (WSIL) — An influx of money from the state’s revamped funding formula means school districts can finally fill vacant positions.
"We went through some serious financial stresses over the last decade," Murphysboro schools superintendent Chris Grode said. "We were making a lot of cuts."
Grode said the state withheld $4.5 million over several years, on top of issues from the state budget impasse.
"We were concerned that we weren’t even going to be able to stay open," Grode said. "Now with the evidence-based funding, we’re able to see increases based on our needs."
Lawmakers approved changes to the school funding formula in 2017 and Murphysboro saw state aid increase from $8.8 million to $10.4 million dollars in the 2017-2018 school year. The district received $11 million last year.
"The evidence-based funding model has allowed us to bring back a lot of these positions," Grode said. "We’re bringing back art, we’ve brought back a bunch of middle schools teachers, positions that were previously cut."
The district brought back 16 people and created two new positions.
Grode is also looking for three LPNs to serve as nurses in the district, aiming to have a nurse in every school.
"Our primary purpose is to educate the students. To do that, our main goal is to keep them safe and secure," Grode said. "You want to be there for emergencies."
The additional funding also helped the district buy new textbooks and incorporate more online elements into the classroom.
The district now handles student assessments online as well, meaning teachers can tailor lesson plans to students based on their strengths and weaknesses.
"Teachers, for years, have been tailoring and differentiating and meeting the needs, it’s just with the online resources, it becomes a lot easier for them," Grode said.
And that means teachers have more time to focus on their lesson plans and focus on students.
More details about the job openings within the district can be found here.