News

For Immediate Release
February 11, 2013

School districts to receive full state aid funding under State Board’s proposed education budget


$875 million increase would mean full Foundation Level per pupil funding for first time in three years

SPRINGFIELD — School districts across Illinois would receive the full funding required under statute next school year if the General Assembly approves the Illinois State Board of Education’s budget proposal as part of the state budget beginning July 1. An ISBE analysis shows that the City of Chicago Public School District 299 should have received an additional $130 million in state aid under full funding this school year and other districts were also due millions that have gone unpaid because of a shortfall in state funding. The K-12 education budget has been cut by nearly $1 billion during the past several years.

"State law requires that we use a specific formula for distributing state aid funds to districts,” said State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico. “But for the past two years, those payments have been prorated due to cuts in the state education budget. As a result, districts have had to make difficult decisions and pass on the cuts to make ends meet. The majority are now deficit spending and just treading water. We need to reverse the trend of slashing education budgets if we want to position our students and state economy for success in the future."

The State Board of Education last month approved its 2014 budget recommendation calling for an $875 million increase above the current year in order to better support schools and more than 2 million public education students. As part of the budget-making process, staff produced a spreadsheet looking at current year General State Aid (GSA) claims, or what is owed to districts under the statutorily set formula, versus the prorated payments that districts are receiving this year. To review the analysis, visit http://www.isbe.net/budget/FY14/fy13-gsa-comparison.xlsx.

The following 12 districts would see the biggest gain in state revenue under full formula funding as calculated for this current year, Fiscal Year 2013.

District Name

County

FY 13 Net
GSA Claim

FY 13 Net GSA
Prorated Payment

Amount owed  Districts
under full funding

City of Chicago School District 299

Cook

1,225,714,113

1,094,731,715

(130,982,398)

Rockford School District 205

Winnebago

95,337,399

85,015,862

(10,321,538)

Cicero School District 99

Cook

92,389,710

82,438,507

(9,951,204)

Aurora East Unit SD 131

Kane

91,409,992

81,514,738

(9,895,254)

Waukegan CUSD 60

Lake

83,516,979

74,471,954

(9,045,025)

Elgin Unit School District 46

Kane

70,376,241

62,826,052

(7,550,188)

Plainfield School District 202

Will

60,684,939

53,981,009

(6,703,931)

Joliet School District 86

Will

58,469,457

52,139,786

(6,329,671)

East St Louis SD 189

St Clair

55,860,795

49,806,132

(6,054,663)

Peoria School District 150

Peoria

47,558,638

42,419,538

(5,139,100)

Decatur School District 61

Macon

39,691,330

35,375,578

(4,315,752)

Springfield School District 186

Sangamon

38,995,728

34,775,426

(4,220,302)

Subtotals

 

1,960,005,321

1,749,496,296

(210,509,025)

STATEWIDE TOTALS

4,804,928,870

4,286,752,500

(518,176,370)

General State Aid Proration

The majority of the Board’s increase would go directly from the state to districts through the General State Aid (GSA) formula, which supports local school district operations. The need to fully fund the school aid formula comes at a time when districts have faced an increasing number of low-income students, now at 49 percent statewide, along with reduced property values and subsequent drop in local revenue, which makes up the bulk of education funding in Illinois.

"While I understand the tremendous fiscal restraints and pressures facing the state, fully funding education must always be its top priority,” said CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. “The needs of our children must always come first in this process as this budget reflects the priorities of the people. And as a district, as a city, and as a state we must always put our children and their learning before all else. I fully support State Superintendent Chris Koch and Chairman Gery Chico on this commitment to every school district in Illinois."

Central to the GSA calculation is the “Foundation Level,“ which is intended to represent the minimum level to adequately fund the education of a single pupil in the Illinois K-12 public school system. That Foundation Level has been set in statute at $6,119 per pupil since 2010.

In recent years, however, funds appropriated by the legislature for GSA have fallen significantly short and districts have not received full reimbursement for the last two years. In the current fiscal year, FY13, appropriated funds fell $518 million short of the amount necessary to fully pay the GSA claim, resulting in payments at just 89 percent of the amount owed to districts by statutory formula.

The Board’s budget recommendation urges the General Assembly to approve an increase of $745 million for GSA, providing a total of about $5 billion to fully fund claims at the statutorily-set $6,119 per-pupil Foundation Level.

Districts doing more with less

Districts have received less funding from local tax revenue due to the recession, decline in assessed home values and assessed value limits imposed by the legislature. Additionally, since Fiscal Year 2009, the state’s General Fund allocation for K-12 education has been cut by $861 million or nearly 12 percent. More than a dozen line items in the state education budget have been reduced, and nearly 40 line items have been totally eliminated during the past four years.

“At the full state aid funding level in FY13, we could have balanced our budget and provided additional academic support for our struggling schools, but the State Legislature did not afford us that opportunity,” said Peoria Public Schools District 150 Superintendent Dr. Grenita Lathan. “For FY14, combined with continuing decreased local tax revenue and lower home values, anything less than full state aid will be absolutely devastating for our students and the existing programs that are building momentum across our District.”

In response, districts statewide have cut more than 6,400 teachers and aides, leading to increased class sizes and fewer opportunities to interact and respond to each child. Schools have seen reductions or elimination of music, art, foreign languages, sports and other educational programs and services that help provide a robust education. With fewer state transportation dollars, districts have also eliminated or combined bus routes, sometimes making for longer rides to and from school, and also reduced or cut field trips. Additionally, some have cut support services, such as campus monitors that bolster safety and security.

Meanwhile, districts have been asked to implement new state reforms, such as the more rigorous Common Core standards, new principal and teacher evaluations and prepare for a new online assessment system in 2014-15 while also addressing the demographic shifts of more children classified as low income and Limited English Proficient.

The Illinois State Board of Education submitted its budget recommendation last month to the Governor and General Assembly for consideration as part of the overall State FY2014 budget. State Board officials typically testify on behalf of the budget before House and Senate Committees in March and April. The Board’s budget proposal is posted at www.isbe.net/budget.

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