Annual Financial Watch List drops to seven districts
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Springfield – Seven school districts statewide are on the Illinois State Board of Education’s 2000 Financial Watch List.
The list is down from nine districts last year. The total is well below where it was two years ago, when 16 districts showed varying levels of financial difficulty.
The Financial Watch List is one of five categories comprising the State Board’s Financial Assurance and Accountability System (FAAS). The FAAS classifies and provides financial technical assistance to school districts experiencing financial trouble.
State Superintendent of Education Glenn W. McGee credited the Watch List’s stability in part to the state’s recent and ongoing strong financial support of education. “Local districts have clearly benefited from the extra funding the legislature and the governor have provided in the last few years,” McGee said.
Gov. George Ryan pledged to commit at least 51 percent of all new state revenues to education. As well, the Education Reform Act created a foundation level of funding for three fiscal years, ending June 30, 2001. School districts statewide are guaranteed a minimum amount of funding per student, between state and local funds. That amount rises by $100 annually for the three years. In FY 2000, the foundation level funding is $4,325 per student.
Districts are assigned to a FAAS category based on a ratio comparing their fund balance to revenue balance. The ratio measures operating fund balances against revenues in the educational, operations and maintenance, transportation, municipal retirement/social security and working cash funds. The figures are taken from the districts’ Annual Financial Report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1999.
A district is placed on the Financial Watch List when one or more of the following occurs:
1. The district’s ratio is less than zero percent;
2. It has issued teachers orders or funding bonds to retire teachers orders in three of the last five years;
3. It has issued second-year tax anticipation warrants or notes;
4. Expenditures for the aggregate totals of the educational, operations and maintenance, transportation and working cash funds have exceeded revenues and reserves in those funds for two consecutive years.
Three districts have again been Certified as being in Financial Difficulty, based on continuous monitoring by the State Board. These districts must develop financial plans addressing solutions to their fiscal problems. The State Board must approve the plan.
East St. Louis District 189 remains the only district requiring Financial Oversight because of the severity of its fiscal problems. The State Superintendent assigns a three-member external panel to approve all financial activity for such districts. East St. Louis has been under Financial Oversight since October 1994.
Financial Watch List
2000 CERTIFIED AS “IN FINANCIAL DIFFICULTY”
2000 FINANCIAL OVERSIGHT
DISTRICTS REMOVED FROM THE FINANCIAL WATCH LIST