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State Gives Aid to Schools on Time

Local school districts say they are only getting 89% of what they should.
FARMINGTON - School districts seem to be used to getting their aid late.
 
“There have been years where you get all in the fiscal year, and then other years where you might get some of it the next fiscal year, or you might not get it at all,” Farmington’s Superintendent John Asplund said.
 
But on July 1, the beginning of a school’s fiscal year, superintendents received an email saying they will be getting their specialized grants on time.
 
“It makes life easier, that’s the best way to describe it,” Mark Wilcockson, the Chief Financial Officer for District 150, said.
 
Wilcockson tells us the funding schedule has been unreliable in the last several year, District 150 just plans its year without the money.
 
Asplund said there is more to worry about than just the timing of the payments.
 
“What impacts us more is the fact that it keeps getting reduced,” he said.
 
Even though the payment was on time this year, that number was still less than what school districts were initially promised.
This year, the districts are only receiving 89 percent of what they should. Asplund said that equals to nearly $650,000 less for his district. He says transportation is one of the categories that gets hit the most.
 
“Our costs never go down, and yet the transportation has become more and more a victim of the state cutting cost in different places,” Asplund said.
 
He said districts in Chicago can afford that budget cut, but rural schools down state cannot.
 
Asplund said Farmington comes up with a long-term plan when it comes to budgeting. And he is working with local state representatives to get the state government to come up with a plan for school aid, as well.
 
But in the meantime, the school proudly displays the state’s IOU amount on its welcome sign out front.

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