While Illinois schools wait for a state education funding bill to be hashed out, they’ve gotten news of another financial blow.
Illinois reimburses local taxing bodies – including counties, fire departments and school districts – each year to replace personal property taxes on businesses that, under a 1979 law, they were no longer allowed to collect. An overpayment last year already meant a reduction in this year’s allotment, but then the recently passed budget diverted nearly $300 million from the fund to help balance the state’s books. Figures released this week show a nearly 24 percent total reduction to the personal property replacement tax fund, and estimated payments following suit.
Rockford Public Schools Superintendent Ehren Jarrett says the district anticipated the payment issue and, in June, its school board cut the budget for the coming year by nearly 19 percent to cope with the expected loss.
Jarrett says the district is hopeful a pending agreement on state education support will bring additional resources to the district and its students using a new formula meant to help schools receive adequate funding.