Thursday, March 25, 2010

Illinois school budgets at the breaking point

State officials say 41 percent of school districts — 355 out of 869 — were spending into a deficit in 2009. The number is expected to go up to 44 percent in 2010.

On the revenue side, the recession has kept a lid on local tax caps at the same time that the state fell behind on aid payments, said William Phillips, an associate professor of educational leadership at the University of Illinois at Springfield. The governor has proposed big cuts for next year.

"So now they're getting hit with three different major funding sources being reduced and they are doing what they never wanted to do, which is drastically cutting their programs and staff," he said. "The bottom line is, districts are spending more than they're taking in."

Phillips' comments were featured in a March 25, 2010, article in the Chicago Tribune.

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