The state of Illinois already owes local school districts more than $800 million -- a debt created during the previous 2-1/2 year budget stalemate.
But Springfield’s about to skip another big payment on Thursday, bringing the total amount it owes to more than $1.1 billion dollars.
The 950 layoff notices Chicago’s public schools just sent out are only part of the belt-tightening in school districts across Illinois. Some are only now realizing they won't get a $244 million state aid payment that's due Thursday, and maybe not another $244 million due August 20th.
By then, many schools in the suburbs and downstate will be opening and facing their worst cash crunch ever. Mayor Emanuel thinks it may pressure a few republican legislators to join democrats to override Gov. Rauner's veto of a school funding bill he denounces as a "Chicago bailout."
“The legislature, of both parties, will do what's right for their taxpayers, their teachers and their students. Just like what we're doing. Our kids? September 5th, they will be in school on day one,” Emanuel said.
By that week, the state could very well owe a total $1.6 billion in overdue school aid. Chicago’s public schools have chosen to cope though a series of reckless borrowings, paying astronomical interest rates because of their junk credit rating.
Adding to the chaos, the governor's admitted big errors in a district-by-district analysis of the school funding proposal he offered last week. He's not yet released an updated analysis, but is unhappy with estimates made by others.
“There has been tremendous amount of misinformation about the education funding and the results, going back now for days and weeks,” Rauner said.
Democrats who control the general assembly seem to think time is on their side, that as the school funding crisis grows, it will put more pressure on Republican legislators. For his part, the governor insists it won't work.
The Illinois state board of education was supposed to release Tuesday a list of who wins and who loses under Gov. Rauner's school funding plan. But said today they're not sure when the analysis will be done. They blamed the governor's revenue department for giving them incorrect numbers.