District 204 Discusses Draft Budget

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District 204 has a new draft budget for the 2018 fiscal year – but almost $40 million of that budget is in question thanks to the state.

Though Illinois’ new budget has increased school funding, it tied all education spending to an evidence-based funding model, which Illinois does not currently have.

This means that unless a new evidence-based funding model is passed, the state will not disburse any funds to schools.

“The worst possible case scenario is if we started school and they kept arguing, a number of school districts in worse financial shape than us would start to fold their tents,” said District 204 Chief School Business Official Jay Strang. “And the analysis I’ve done shows that we can make it until April 1 before we run out of funds.”

Senate Bill 1, an evidence-based model, has passed both chambers of the Illinois congress, though it has not yet been sent to Governor Rauner, who has said that he will use his amendatory veto powers to remove a portion of the bill regarding Chicago Public Schools.

“We again urge our legislators to find some common ground to get an evidence-based funding model to the finish line before the first installments are due to schools in early August,” said District 204 Superintendent Karen Sullivan.

And because there isn’t a set funding model for the next year, the district will have to pass the 2018 budget based on the state’s old model and amend it later based on the formula the state passes.

Due to the change of funding model and the state’s backlog of bills, District 204 leadership no longer expects to see the over $10 million in missed payments accrued during the budget deadlock.

Naperville News 17’s Blane Erwin reports.