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Analysis: U46 among districts to benefit most from budget bid

A couple students walk northbound Channing Street Elgearlier this month. The state Illinois is possibly making cuts educatibudget which local

A couple of students walk northbound on Channing Street in Elgin earlier this month. The state of Illinois is possibly making cuts to the education budget, which local school officials say, could be devastating. | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: March 14, 2013 6:29AM

Elgin School District U46, East Aurora School District 131 and Plainfield School District 202 are among the 12 school districts that would see the biggest gains in revenue if the Illinois State Board of Education gets its way.

The state board released an analysis with those numbers Monday, showing how much more Illinois school districts would receive if lawmakers fully fund them this year as required under statute, it said.

That’s part of the education budget that the ISBE approved late last month, calling for an $875 million increase above the current year’s funding in the state budget beginning July 1.

If approved, that would send $7,550,188 more next school year to U46, the state’s second-largest school district. It would send $6,703,931 to Plainfield and $9,895,254, to East Aurora, according to the ISBE analysis. That puts Elgin at No. 6 on that list, Plainfield at No. 7 and East Aurora, No. 4.

Chicago Public Schools should have received an added $130 million in state aid under full funding this school year, and other districts were also due millions that have gone unpaid because of a state funding shortfall.

But the Elgin school district isn’t too optimistic it will see that money.

“Each year, we have to wait and see what the legislature will do and how it will impact the services we provide to students,” U46 spokesman Patrick Mogge said. 

“We have to be conservative in our planning since our personnel and other decisions need to be made in March, but the legislature typically won’t act until the 11th hour in late May.”

The state’s K-12 education budget has been cut by nearly $1 billion during the past several years, according to the state board. Because of those cuts, ISBE Chairman Gery Chico said in a statement, the general state aid the state board distributes to districts has been prorated.

“As a result, districts have had to make difficult decisions and pass on the cuts to make ends meet. The majority are now deficit-spending and just treading water,” Chico said. “We need to reverse the trend of slashing education budgets if we want to position our students and state economy for success in the future.”

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