A new analysis of the financial health of Illinois' school districts shows the majority remain in precarious positions, with many borrowing and tapping into cash reserves just to keep their schools running. In large part, this is because of diminishing state funding and declining property wealth in less affluent parts of the state.
The Illinois State Board of Education's 2016 School District Financial Profile Scores report uses fiscal year 2015 annual financial reports to provide an overview of each district's finances. Scores are calculated using five indicators:
- Fund balance to revenue ratio
- Expenditure to revenue ratio
- Days cash on hand
- Percentage of remaining short-term borrowing ability
- Percentage of remaining long-term borrowing ability
School districts are placed into one of four categories based on their fiscal health: Financial Recognition (best), Financial Review, Financial Early Warning and Financial Watch (worst).
Eighteen of the 32 districts in Financial Watch also were on last year's list, while 14 are new additions, according to board of education. The map below shows where the districts with the worst fiscal health are located. Those with asterisks either have been dissolved, formed into a new district or did not submit their FY 2015 annual financial report.
You can find a complete list of the schools in Financial Watch here.