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Only Oswego

District 308 Financial Profile Moves Up to Review Stage

Mar 13, 2014 01:55PM ● By Steven Jack

Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to portray the district's correct 2014 status with the ISBE.

Oswego School District 308 improved in its 2014 Illinois State Board of Education’s annual Financial Profile.

The district moved into the "review" category, which is the second-best category. The district had dropped to "early warning" last year. The district is projected to remain at the same level through 2017.

District 308 is currently operating on a balanced budget, but annually pays about $35,000,000 alone in principal and interest payments on its bond debt. The Chicago Tribune reported Wednesday that the number of districts in financial distress has doubled in the last year. 

The ISBE profile assess school districts’ financial condition. It is based on financial performance, fund-balance-to-revenue ratio, expenditures-to-revenue ratio, days cash on hand, percent of short-term borrowing available, and percent of long-term debt remaining, according to the ISBE website. 

The education funding picture could get worse if state lawmakers agree to a proposed $1 billion cut in state aid to local districts. Also proposed is a change to the method in which districts receive state funding. The new plan calls for all state funding to be placed in one pot and requires districts to demonstrate a need. 

The biggest factor currently in determining state aid is the equalized assessed valuation of property in a district. Changing that formula could mean District 308 could see even less in state aid. 

The school board is currently drafting a letter to state lawmakers asking for them to reconsider the new formula. Members of the School Board may even travel to Springfield in the coming weeks to lobby legislators further.