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State Comptroller Doesn't Have Past-Due Funds For Public Schools

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  Last summer, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a last-minute plan to appropriate state money to public schools. It allowed districts to open on time, but the actual funds for programs such as special education and busing have been slow in coming.

State Comptroller Susana Mendoza is in charge of disbursing the money but says she can't due to lack of cash on hand.

“As of today," she said, "I think our actual cash flow -- our available balance -- might be actually 159 million dollars."

That’s to pay a total backlog of more than $12.3 billion dollars.

Illinois funds local school districts with two pots of money. One is a baseline payment based on enrollment, which schools already have received. The other is reimbursement for things like buses and special education.

A spokesman for the Illinois School Administrators Association says schools need both pools to function.

The comptroller's office says the state is $800 million behind in school payments.

 

Tom reports on statehouse issues for NPR Illinois. He's currently a Public Affairs Reporting graduate program student at the University of Illinois Springfield. He graduated from Macalester College. Tom is from New York City where he also did stand-up and improv and wrote for the Awl and WNYC public radio.