State aid checks to schools delayed - ILLINOIS (WCIA) -- The state is making history again, but not in a good way. For the first time ever, schools did not get their general state aid payment. It's because of the gridlock between Republicans and Democrats on the new school funding formula.
"So, just when we didn't think it could get any worse, it has," said Superintendent of Rochester Schools Tom Bertrand.
Big checks which were supposed to be on their desks and many other across the state, but for the first time ever, are not there.
"Not having any general state aid, or the thought of that, is a little disconcerting for school districts and worrisome," said Superintendent of Springfield Schools Jennifer Gill.
But, some cash did make its way to their doors. Comptroller Susana Mendoza distributed $429 million in overdue payments to all school districts. However, the money can only be used for certain categories like transportation or special education.
"It's not all things equal, but at least it's something that will help relieve the pressure on us from other accounts as we do away until we reach a decision that would lead to general state aid."
With Governor Rauner, recent veto on Senate Bill One, superintendents say it's turning into deja-vu all over again.
"This is historic funding reform and that doesn't come easily. It's been difficult but, bottom line for me, the ball is on the one-yard line and set up at one of the only bill that is passed both chambers. It's the only game in town."
Senator Andy Manar says he's hopeful negotiations on the funding bill can continue before Sunday, which is when the Senate is expected to override Rauner's veto. Manar says though, without accurate numbers in his veto plan, it's dragging out this fight longer.
"The governor of the state of Illinois made 100 changes to a school funding bill without having a shred of evidence on what that veto would mean for the most under-funded school districts in the state. That is stunning to me," said Manar.
Rauner agues if Democrats send him the school funding bill earlier they wouldn't be in this dire situation.
The next general state aid payment is scheduled to be sent out August 20th. That will only happen if a school funding bill is signed into law. Some superintendent say it's a possible reality going another month(s) without state aid checks.
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