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Analysis: East Aurora among districts to benefit most from budget bid

Updated: March 14, 2013 6:42AM

The East Aurora School, Elgin and Plainfield school districts are among the 12 districts that would see the biggest gains in revenue if the Illinois State Board of Education gets its way.

The state board released an analysis with those numbers this week, showing how much more Illinois school districts would receive if lawmakers fully fund them this year as required under statute, it said.

Last month, the ISBE approved a budget calling for an $875 million increase above the current year’s funding in the state budget beginning July 1. That budget, however, is dependent on action by the state legislature.

If approved, it would send $7,550,188 more next school year to Elgin District U46, the state’s second-largest school district. It would send $6,703,931 to Plainfield and $9,895,254, to East Aurora, according to the ISBE analysis. That puts Elgin at No. 6 on that list, Plainfield at No. 7 and East Aurora, No. 4.

Chicago Public Schools should have received an added $130 million in state aid under full funding this school year, and other districts were also due millions that have gone unpaid because of a state funding shortfall.

But the school districts are not optimistic that they actually will see the money the ISBE has called for.

“Each year, we have to wait and see what the legislature will do and how it will impact the services we provide to students,” Elgin spokesman Patrick Mogge said. 

“We have to be conservative in our planning since our personnel and other decisions need to be made in March, but the legislature typically won’t act until the 11th hour in late May.”

The state’s K-12 education budget has been cut by nearly $1 billion during the past several years, according to the state board. Because of those cuts, ISBE Chairman Gery Chico said in a statement, the general state aid the state board distributes to districts has been prorated.

“As a result, districts have had to make difficult decisions and pass on the cuts to make ends meet. The majority are now deficit-spending and just treading water,” Chico said. “We need to reverse the trend of slashing education budgets if we want to position our students and state economy for success in the future.”

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