State budget impasse leaves testing plans up in flux


By Mike Stanford (@MStanford25)
State officials in Springfield have announced they will be moving toward administering the SAT instead of the ACT going forward. However, the test that juniors will take this year remains uncertain, according to Associate Principal Scott McDermott.
Since Illinois has been without a budget in over five months, it is unlikely that they will foot the bill for the March, according to McDermott. As a result, the decision is ultimately up to the district and Superintendent David Schuler.
The district is already under contract to take the ACT this year, but if a budget deal is reached and the state will fund the test, District 214 is likely to use the SAT as prescribed by Springfield, but if they will not pay, the district will have more flexibility.
The uncertainty surrounding which test juniors will take in March stems from the chaos in Springfield. Democrats and Republicans have been unable to compromise, so Illinois has been without a budget since July first.
Some districts across the state have been struggling without organized funding, but District 214 has been able to avoid most of the mess thanks to strong financial management, according to McDermott.
Regardless of how the situation is resolved, McDermott believes students should not worry.
“[Teachers] are going to come to work everyday and give you 100 percent just like they would whether the budget is passed in Springfield or not,” McDermott said. “[Prospect students] have the benefit of coming to a school where teachers are passionate and really care about the kids, and the state’s problems have very little impact on them at this point.”
As the district makes its decision, Prospect test preparation seminars are waiting to adjust their curricula until they can get a definitive answer on which test they need to teach to students, leaving students like junior Darko Bojin in flux.
Not only do Bojin and his other classmates not know which test they will be taking, but also they could be the amongst the first people nationwide to take the updated SAT.
Although the course’s early February start date is fast approaching, McDermott believes the test preparation course will be able to adapt with ease since the new test was created to be more similar to the ACT.
Despite the late nature of these decisions, McDermott urges students not to be concerned.
“We will have a process in place that will be beneficial to kids,” McDermott said. “We don’t want to give a test just to give a test.”