State vows to reduce payment backlog to schools - WEEK.com: Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

State vows to reduce payment backlog to schools

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School leaders are getting a lesson in patience this month, anxiously awaiting payments from the state.   The comptroller's office  says they hope changes in the new Illinois school funding law will reduce payment backlogs.   But optimism locally is limited given the state's track record.

Canton schools are waiting for $760,000. additional dollars each year under the state education reform bill's new funding formula.  Superintendent Rolf Sivertsen says they're still owed $500,000.   But he's not counting yet.

"I'm pessimistic but that's my nature as being superintendent, conservative and I'm hoping that we can put this behind us and get back on track to a sound financial footing, " said Canton Schools Superintendent Rolf Sivertsen.

A spokesperson with the state comptrollers office says school districts around the state should start getting money this week for payments missed in August.
September payments are due around the 10th and 20th.   Peoria Public Schools,the chief financial officer believes the state will start to make it right.

"When you've gone through as much as we've gone through with the various advocates and you finally get to this point i th9ink you have so much vested and invested that it makes sense to do what you can to make it work," said Peoria Public Schools C.F.O. Mick Willis.

Unlike Canton's superintendent, Willis says he believes the state will pay Peoria Public Schools three million dollars owed from last year.   
State legislators have talked about  selling bonds or borrowing money to catch up on 15 billion dollars in late payments.   But  it's unclear if that will happen this fall.   

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