Despite K-12 education funding being spared much of the turmoil caused by the lack of a full-year, balanced state budget, many school districts have been feeling the crunch due to state mandated categorical payments not being paid. These categorical payments, which help fund things like transportation and special education, have yet to be paid to school districts by the Comptroller because of the state’s ever growing backlog of bills. State Representative Allen Skillicorn (R-East Dundee) says this is one more reason it is essential to stop playing games with another stopgap in Springfield and pass a comprehensive, full-year balanced budget as soon as possible.
“Illinois has been without a complete budget for nearly two years now, and gone even longer without a balanced budget that actually matches spending to projected revenues,” said Skillicorn. “Every day this continues, our schools face growing uncertainty as their backlog of unpaid state vouchers grow. This is unacceptable and ultimately leads to more pressure being placed on local taxpayers.”
School districts across the state, including those in Skillicorn’s district, have yet to receive millions of dollars in state mandated categorical payments. The Comptroller has not made the payments since the state does not have enough money to do so. Comptroller Mendoza’s office has said it plans to make the first of four categorical payments by the end of April, some seven months late. School districts would typically have received three payments by April, but since the state’s spending has outpaced revenues by so much, and the state is still without an appropriation for a full-year budget, none have been made yet.
“K-12 education, higher education and social services need urgent, real solutions, not another stopgap that keeps growing Illinois’ backlog of unpaid bills. Continuing to spend more money than the state takes in will just grow the problem more in the long run.” said Skillicorn. “I urge the Speaker to work with both Republicans and Democrats to pass a comprehensive balanced budget immediately.”