On the same day school bells started ringing for some local students – the state missed its August general state aid payments to school districts for the first time in history.
That’s because lawmakers passed a budget that included school funding in July, but required a new school funding formula before the checks could be written. Governor Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto of a new school funding plan last week – and legislators will take the matter back up when they are called back to Springfield next week.
State Comptroller Susana Mendoza sent $429 million in overdue payment to school districts yesterday – so they got some money. Those payments are for so-called “categoricals” – things like bus transportation and special education. That might provide some extra padding for local school districts – which have delayed hiring and the buying of supplies – but it is money that our school districts have been owed since March.