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Schools struggle with lack of state funds

CHAMPAIGN -- State schools are going to be short on state funds this year.
CHAMPAIGN -- State schools are going to be short on state funds this year. Illinois' schools are being asked to do more with less, but leaders at one Champaign school are getting creative. They're looking at ways to fill those cuts in state funding. WCIA-3's Jessica Shaw has more.

The Unit 4 District is expected to be short $1.1 million in state funding this year. It trickles down, but Kenwood Elementary is looking to the internet to bridge that gap. It's something classrooms have come to expect.

"We're going to be shorter on state funding this year."

But, principal Lisa Geren will tell you the needs are still there. It's why Kenwood is looking for new ways to raise money like online fundraising sites.

"We're working with Dan Ditchfield, with Illini for Kids. He's helping us set up pages for each teacher and this initiative. We're going to ask for laptop computers for the kids. Anybody in the whole world with access to the internet can go to donorschoose.org. They look up Kenwood School and see the teacher needs a computer. They can donate $5, they can donate $150."

District leaders say they're searching for more grants to help, but community support is key.

"There's no community without communication, so we're definitely trying to get the word out. Have everybody do their part."

That part will help make sure each student and each classroom gets the supplies they need. Kenwood officials say other schools in the district have used the donorschoose fundraising site. They've had good results.

Funding is based on what the state determines to be the per-pupil amount of money schools need to operate. It's called the "foundation level."

State aid is supposed to make up whatever a school district's local revenue doesn't cover. For the last four years, the foundation level has been $6,100 per student.
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