District 308 Financial Profile Remains at Early Warning Stage
Mar 13, 2014 01:55PM ● Published by Steven Jack
Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons
Oswego School District 308 saw no improvement in its 2014 Illinois State Board of Education’s annual Financial Profile.
The district remains in the "Early Warning" category, which is the second-highest risk category. It dropped to early warning last year after being in the “Review” category the in 2012. The designation means the ISBE "will be monitoring these districts closely and offering proactive technical assistance,” according to the ISBE website.
District 308 is currently operating on a balanced budget, but annually pays about $35,000,000 alone in principal and interest payments on its bond debt.
The ISBE profile assess school districts’ financial condition. It is based on financial performance, fund-balance-to-revenue ratio, expenditures-to-revenue ratio, days cash on hand, percent of short-term borrowing available, and percent of long-term debt remaining, according to the ISBE website.
District 308 is far from the only school district in the state with financial issues. The Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday that the number of districts in financial distress has doubled in the last year.
The education funding picture could get worse if state lawmakers agree to a proposed $1 billion cut in state aid to local districts. Also proposed is a change to the method in which district’s receive state funding. The new plan calls for all state funding to be placed in one pot and requires districts to demonstrate a need.
The biggest factor currently in determining state aid is the equalized assessed valuation of property in a district. Changing that formula could mean District 308 could see even less in state aid.
The board is currently drafting a letter to state lawmakers asking for them to reconsider the new formula. Members of the School Board may even travel to Springfield in the coming weeks to lobby legislators further.