State Representative Avery Bourne joined fifteen of her colleagues from the Illinois House of Representatives calling for Comptroller Susana Mendoza to pay Illinois school districts with the almost $600 million dollars she currently has in the general revenue fund to spend.
The Representatives are urging Mendoza to pay for the services, mandated by the state, that were already provided by the districts, such as transportation. These payments would give much-needed relief to districts that are struggling. The timing of these payments is at the discretion of the Comptroller alone. The Representatives are asking that she makes schools a priority instead of stalling on their payments, which are presently up to a year behind.
The following is the letter delivered to Comptroller Mendoza on Thursday:
Dear Comptroller Mendoza,
In light of recent comments made by your office, we write to express our concern over your decision to delay mandated categorical payments for the Fiscal Year 2017 to all Illinois school districts until later this spring.
As you are well aware, these services, which are required by state law, are major cost drivers for our school districts. Delaying these payments, for services which have already been provided, disproportionately hurts our downstate and rural school districts, as transportation costs specifically are a huge burden for our schools.
Due to recent comments and proposals in the Illinois House to spend “surplus money,” we are requesting that you utilize the money available to make good on the promises we have already made for the needs of our school children.
As of today, your office has more than $587 million on hand that could be used to begin making these payments. We ask that you please reconsider and begin to make these payments immediately.