SPRINGFIELD – Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich today announced his intention to advance the final two state aid payments to schools for the current fiscal year. Advancing the final two payments is critical for school districts around the state as they try to keep their own budgets balanced.
In past years of revenue shortfalls, governors delayed the 23rd and 24th state aid payments until the following fiscal year. This is problematic for school districts, which budget the final two payments as part of their current fiscal year that ends July 1st . School district officials say delaying the payments until July makes the difference between a balanced budget and a budget running a deficit.
“Even though we are still battling a budget deficit created by years of mismanagement and misplaced priorities, we will not balance the budget on the backs of our school children. That’s why we will not delay making these payments to our schools,” Blagojevich said. “I will continue to direct that these payments be made, on time, for upcoming fiscal years.”
In a letter today to Comptroller Dan Hynes and Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka, the Governor asked them to transfer approximately $277 million on June 25th from the General Revenue Fund to the Common School Fund, so the July payments to school districts can be made early. Payment has to be received by June 25th in order for school districts to receive it by the end of the month. Comptroller Hynes recently stated in a letter to the director of the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget that it is his belief sufficient funds exist to make the final two payments.