$429 million in overdue payments sent to Illinois schools - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

$429 million in overdue payments sent to Illinois schools

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WSIL -- Illinois comptroller Susana Mendoza sent $429 million in overdue payments to K-12 schools on Thursday, providing some relief to cash-strapped districts across the state as they prepare to open their doors for a new school year.

Known as mandated categoricals, this money can only be used to help districts cover the cost of transportation, special education and other services.The money was supposed to be sent earlier this year (last fiscal year), but the state budget crisis delayed payments. 

The announcement came on the same day general state aid payments were supposed to be sent to schools, but weren't for the first time in history.

State aid payments can't be sent to schools until a new evidence-based funding formula becomes law.

"Our office has been preparing for this contingency," said Mendoza. "The categorical payments are no substitute for the general state aid that parents, school administrators and, most importantly, the students, deserve to keep schools open through the entire school year. They will provide some relief, but this does not solve the current K-12 funding crisis the Governor's veto of Senate Bill 1 has created."

Last week, Gov. Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto to Senate Bill 1, an evidence-based formula plan lawmakers approved in May. 

Rauner, a Republican, called the portion he vetoed a pension bailout for Chicago.

The Senate is expected to meet this weekend to begin considering overriding the governor's veto.

It's unclear if legislators will have enough votes to override the governor's veto.

Because of the uncertainty, some school administrators across the state say they will only be able to keep their doors open for a few weeks.

"Without our GSA payments we will not be able to fund schools past October/November," the Murphysboro CUSD 186 said on its Facebook page. 

Murphysboro CUSD 186 superintendent Chris Grode is hosting a town hall tonight on SB1 at 6 p.m. at  McElvain School.

The town hall will also feature Edwin Shoemate, superintendent of Cobden Unit School District #17 and Brent Clark, the director of the Illinois Association of School Administrators. 

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