A northern Illinois school district worries it might not be able to make payroll next year. The comments follow a new report on the financial struggles facing many districts.
Streator elementary schools superintendent Matt Wilkinson says the district's financial problems keep him up at night. Streator is one of the nearly 50 districts under state financial watch, when you factor in delayed payments from Springfield.
Overall, the report says many public school systems in Illinois are using their reserves or borrowing to help cover costs. Wilkinson says because they continue to wait on delayed state payments, they're close to reaching their borrowing capacity. And he says they can't cut any more from the budget.
“We’re at an operational tipping point where I can’t recommend any more cuts for protection and safety of our students and staff,” Wilkinson said.
Wilkinson says if the state cuts even more funding, they could run into stretches next year where there is no money to meet payroll or pay bills. Some observers say examples like this one are a reminder that districts should consolidate to save money.
Here is the list of other northern Illinois school districts under financial watch: