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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Federal Money At Stake For Schools In Potential State Shutdown

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Without a budget agreement in Springfield, a possible government shutdown gets closer. And for already cash-strapped schools, it's not just state money that's at stake, but federal money, too.

Schools have three major sources of funding: Local property taxes, state money and federal dollars. Depending on how wealthy or poor an area is, those three sources vary in weight.

But schools in high-poverty areas tend to need extra educational mediation...that's where federal money comes in.

Schools with a Title I designation get extra dollars to hire teachers that give individual attention to students who struggle with math and reading.

If there's no state spending authority, that money can't be filtered down to schools. Matt Vanover, with the Illinois State Board of Education, says that will make for tough decisions.

"They're going to have to say, ‘Okay, are we going to dip into reserves? Are we going to have to possibly delay opening school? Are we going to have to look at borrowing?'"

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger says schools shouldn't panic about delayed payments just yet.

"We will expedite those payments,” Munger said. “Honestly, if it's August 10 we got an agreement, they would have it within days. They could still open schools.”

But schools with very tight budgets may already have to start whittling down their operations, no matter what happens in August.

Hannah covers state government and politics for NPR Illinois and Illinois Public Radio. She previously covered the statehouse for The Daily Line and Law360, and also worked a temporary stint at the political blog Capitol Fax in 2018.
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