Mt. Vernon Register-News

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July 11, 2014

Illinois up-to-date on school payments

MT. VERNON — The State of Illinois is caught up in making its categorical grant payments to area schools as of July 1, said Ron Daniels, regional superintendent of the Hamilton-Jefferson Counties Regional Office of Education.

However, state officials are warning educators the situation might not be as favorable next year.

According to the Associated Press, the state had more available funds this past fiscal year due to higher income and sales tax revenues and court settlement proceeds. Fiscal year 2014 ended June 30.

“It may not happen again next year,” Daniels said of the state’s timely reimbursements.

Categorical funding helps pay for special education and transportation, as well as providing grants. In the past, the state had been several months behind in making these payments, Daniels said.

The other main type of state funding for schools is general state aid. This revenue stream does not have to be used for specific programs and can be allocated for operating expenses.

District 80 Superintendent Mike Green said general state aid payments have typically been on time, but the funding has been set at a reduced, 89 percent level.

Green confirmed Thursday the state is “just about caught up” with its categorical payments to District 80.

There was one outstanding payment of $62,000 still owed to the district, but that funding is expected to be received this week, Green said.

“It’s nice to have all the money paid to the districts,” Green said. “It allows districts to function and operate in a timely manner because we need to pay our bills as well.”

John Ashby, interim superintendent of Bluford Grade School and Webber Township High School, said he was also glad to see the state is up-to-date on its payments.

“We ended up finishing the year with positive fund balances,” Ashby said. “It’s a good change. Typically, we get payments after the close of the fiscal year in some categories.”

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