Hard Choices for School Districts

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Education

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) approved the 2018 School District Financial Profiles, which are based on fiscal year 2017 financial data. The annual profiles provide an informational snapshot of school districts’ financial health and promote sound financial management. Each school district’s profile shows a score from 1.00 (lowest financial strength) to 4.00 (highest financial strength) and a corresponding designation (1.00 through 2.61: Financial Watch; 2.62 through 3.07: Financial Warning; 3.08 through 3.53: Financial Review; and 3.54 through 4.00: Financial Recognition). The 2018 profiles show overall improving fiscal health as well as inadequate resources. The second-greatest number of school districts achieved Financial Recognition in the 15-year history of the tool. However, the majority of school districts in Financial Recognition have less than 75 percent of the statutory definition of adequate resources, according to preliminary Evidence-Based Funding calculations. Half of the districts in the Watch category rely on state funding to provide 40 percent or more of their resources. They may also have to tax at a higher rate than other similar districts to obtain the same amount of local funding, due to lower local property wealth. ISBE developed the School District Financial Profile in 2003 in partnership with experts in finance and lending, credit agencies, and school business officials.

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