Illinois misses school payments, sends grant money

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ILLINOIS (WAND) – Illinois leaders say the state missed payments to public K-12 schools for the first time.

Comptroller Susana Mendoza says her office is replacing a lack of General State Aid money with $429 million in mandated categorical grants. She says this money was available because it’s been reserved for schools to cover grants they’re already owed.

 Mendoza added the money can cover transportation, special education and other costs.

“The categorical payments are no substitute for the General State Aid that parents, school administrators and, most importantly, the students, deserve to keep schools open through the entire school year,” said a statement from Mendoza’s office. “They will provide some relief, but this does not solve the current K-12 funding crisis the Governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1 has created.”

Gov. Rauner’s office says the other side of the aisle is at fault for the school funding bill delay, claiming Democrats held the bill for two months to “create a crisis”.

“As soon as he received the bill, Gov. Rauner acted quickly to ensure the school funding formula is fair and equitable to every child in Illinois,” said Laurel Patrick, a representative with the governor’s office. “Now the Democrats have wasted yet another week by not taking action on the governor’s changes, or coming forward with an alternative of their own. Our state’s children and schools can’t wait another day for them to act – what are they waiting for?” 

However, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) says the Amendatory Veto of Senate Bill 1 could potentially cause schools in several central Illinois communities to lose out on increased state funding. 

"This is an unacceptable deviation that pits schools against economic development in a fight no one asked for and no one wins," said Senator Manar.

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