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Illinois has Fewer Districts in Financial Peril

Fewer school districts in Illinois have been placed on the "Financial Watch" list for 2011, the Illinois State Board of Education says.

The state’s annual financial profile of its 868 public school systems found that 24 were designated as Financial Watch districts, compared with 28 in the 2010 profile. The 2011 designation is based on financial data from the 2009-10 school year. Systems categorized as "Financial Watch" districts are those at the greatest financial risk.

The profile places Illinois districts in one of four categories. In ascending order of financial soundness, the categories are "Financial Watch," "Early Financial Warning," "Financial Review" and "Financial Recognition."

In another positive sign, more districts were placed in the "Financial Recognition" category in the 2011 profile. Illinois had 604 Financial Recognition school districts, up from 578 in 2010.

The state calculates districts’ financial status of districts using five indicators: fund balance to revenue ratio; expenditures to revenues ratio; days of cash on hand; percent of short-term borrowing available; and percent of long-term debt remaining.

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