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Local

PC Schools earn highest financial ranking

GRANVILLE — The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has released the 2014 financial profile for every school district in the state of Illinois. There are now more schools than ever before with the lowest financial ranking possible.

The numbers show one-third of the students who attend school in the state of Illinois are in schools with poor financial health. This translates into Illinois schools that have cut staff and programs, enlarged class sizes or cut extra curricular activities and support services.

The ISBE has noted 532 districts are in deficit spending. Each school in Illinois receives a yearly financial profile. The ISBE uses this profile to monitor each school district’s financial condition. The four levels include: Financial Recognition is the highest ranking, this indicates a district has earned a score of 3.54 to 4.00; Financial
Review is when a district has a score of 3.08 to 3.53. Districts in this category receive limited review by the ISBE and are watched for potential downward trends; Early Warning school districts with a score of 2.62 to 3.07 are listed in this category. ISBE monitors these districts and offers select assistance; Financial Watch districts scored at 1.00 to 2.61 and are placed in this category. ISBE offers extensive support to the district and it is reviewed to see if it qualifies for a Financial Oversight Panel.

Locally, all but one area school district has achieved the Financial Recognition designation. Tonica Grade School and Lostant Grade School have earned a 3.65 for the last two years. Putnam County Community Unit School District has earned a perfect 4.00 for the last two years. LaSalle-Peru Township High School has slipped by .10 percent in the last two years with a score of 3.65 in 2012 to a score of 3.55 in 2013. However Fieldcrest Community Unit School District, which had a Recognition rating in 2012 with a score of 3.55; has slipped to a rating of 2.75 earning it a spot on the Early Warning list in 2013.

Local school superintendents note it is very challenging in these financial times to keep their district budget balanced, but can be accomplished through hard work and due diligence.

“The highest financial rating possible from the Illinois State Board of Education regarding our Putnam County Schools is a score of which we are very proud. A variety of factors have contributed to our excellent rating, including solid fiscal management throughout numerous years in the district,” Putnam County Schools Superintendent Jay McCracken said. “Putnam County C.U.S.D. 535 has a board of education, administration and staff who are dedicated to fiscal responsibility while providing a quality education to all students. This focus, along with tremendous community support from numerous individuals and organizations such as the Putnam County Educational Foundation, has provided a strong foundation of appropriate fiscal responsibility.

“The combination of wisely allocated local tax dollars and a solid base of Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax (C.P.P.R.T.) provides our Putnam County Schools with excellent resources. The district auditors have commented several times over the past years that our district not only sets a budget, but it follows that budget throughout the school year. During these tough economic times statewide, we are very blessed to continue offering our students and families an excellent educational experience with resources that result from diligent fiscal management.”

The rating level is based on the fund balance to revenue ratio, expenditures to revenue ratio, days cash on hand, the percent of short-term borrowing available and the percent of long-term debt remaining.

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