School Funding Update August 29, 2017

School Funding Update August 29, 2017
Posted on 08/29/2017
School Funding Update August 29, 2017 
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From Dr. John Asplund, Superintendent of Schools 

Good afternoon:

I am writing you today to inform you of the historic school funding bill that passed the Illinois House yesterday and Senate today. As you are aware, the Galesburg #205 School District has not yet received any state aid this school year. As with all other public schools in the state, no aid could flow to districts without an approved bill to send the money. That bill has now been approved as part of a bi-partisan agreement in both the House and Senate. It is expected that the Governor will quickly sign this legislation and District#205 should soon begin receiving state aid for the 2017-2018 school year.

This bill made several changes to the previous funding formula. In addition, schools will now be given greater flexibility in certain areas of the curriculum. A few of the highlighted changes are bulleted below:

  • Changes school funding formula to direct dollars to school districts with high rates of poverty and low ability to generate local dollars
  • Allows school districts greater flexibility in applying for mandated program waivers from the State Board of Education, including Driver's Education and daily PE
  • Creates a private school scholarship program, with funds to be distributed by an as-yet-to-be created committee. Those funds are derived from private contributions
  • Grants residents in property wealthy districts to run referenda to lower property taxes

As of this writing, we do not yet know when aid will begin flowing to the district, as the comptroller's office must first receive final calculations from the State Board of Education. Once final calculations are given, the comptroller's office can begin scheduling payments to schools.

In a previous letter, I outlined the timeline for borrowing money and for closing the school if state aid never came. Barring some unforeseen occurrence, those concerns are gone.

The school board and I would like to personally thank the community, faculty, staff and students for their advocacy for an equitable funding formula for our students and schools. This change would not have been made if not for the tireless efforts of many for the good of all.

Thank you for your continued support of our students and schools.

John Asplund


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