Number of Illinois districts in financial distress doubles

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A disturbing number of Illinois school districts are in poor to dire financial shape, with 121 getting low or dismal ratings in the state’s annual financial report card for schools.

That’s more than double the number of districts in the two lowest categories just two years ago, the result of districts struggling with less state aid, higher costs and a weakened economy.

The analysis of school finances also examined operating budgets for the current school year, estimating that 62 percent of districts are now deficit-spending, including affluent schools in Winnetka, Wilmette and Kenilworth. In addition, the data indicates that districts are borrowing more money to stave off deficits, in the process burdening taxpayers with more debt.

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