State payments to school districts are about two months behind, according to Superintendent Chris Koch. (Photo By Flickr user James Sarmiento)
By Paul Morello
BLOOMINGTON - Over the past three years, Illinois' education budget has been reduced by $870 million dollars, and the state's schools superintendent doesn't expect much improvement next year.
Superintendent Chris Koch and the Illinois State Board of Education met in Bloomington Wednesday. Koch said state payments continue to run about two months behind.
"Just looking at the numbers, you know that we're in for a rough ride for multiple years. You can't make up these kinds of numbers needed for the pension costs and other needs in the state without a lot of pain," he said.
Koch said he's heard from a number of districts who have already used their reserves or who have lost the capacity to borrow.
Despite the continued backup in state payments, Koch said the state has been doing better in keeping up this year than in 2011.
"We're trying to make sure that to the best of our ability we're helping our kids most in need and making sure the districts can withstand this long-term," he said.
Koch said education officials are still waiting to see what lawmakers do with pension reform in Illinois.
Gov. Pat Quinn and other top lawmakers have said reforms probably won't be accomplished until January, in the Lame Duck Session.
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