An Illinois board of education report shows more schools are in poor financial shape and borrowing money or dipping into reserves than in previous years, a problem that could worsen as the state faces overall budget cuts next year.
The annual review, which places districts into four categories ranging from high financial strength to high risk, shows an overall downgrade. About 120 of Illinois’ 862 districts are in the two categories that indicate higher risk, an increase of nine from last year. And the problems are only expected to get worse as about 60 percent of districts forecast they’ll have a deficit in fiscal 2014, an increase of more than 10 percent the previous year.
State education officials say the state has underfunded education for the past three years, causing the overall downgrade in financial strength. And education will likely face more cuts as a temporary income tax is set to expire next year, decreasing state revenues by $1.5 billion.
A version of this article appeared in the March 26, 2014 edition of Education Week as School Finances Appear to Be Worsening in Illinois