Fewer schools made the Illinois fiscal watch list in fiscal 2010, according to the state Board of Education’s annual financial profile of public school districts.
The number of districts that ended up on the watch list due to their fiscal woes decreased to 32 from 39 in 2009. Another 52 were placed in the category of financial early warning, down from 66.
The number of schools that received financial recognition — the category for the healthiest districts — rose to 571 from 550 and about 66% of all districts are doing a sound job of managing their finances, according to the report, which reviews the fiscal state of 868 districts.
When applying revised data that takes into account the state’s chronically late aid payments, the percentage of districts that received a financial recognition designation rose to 70%. The state has fallen $1 billion behind on school aid payments. Another 188 districts fell under “financial review” — the category after financial recognition — down from 196 in 2009.
“Local school boards are grappling with decreased revenue and late payments from the state,” said state Superintendent of Education Christopher Koch. “Many districts have had to make very difficult and painful decisions during the past several years.”
To rank districts, the board reviews fund-balance-to-revenue ratios, expenditures-to-revenue ratios, days cash on hand, and percent of short-term borrowing available.