As you are most likely aware, the state of Illinois went a full two years without a budget, before passing one last summer. Also mired in that quagmire was a great debate regarding the funding of education. At the beginning of this school year, the state legislature approved a new formula for funding education in the state of Illinois called the Evidence Based Funding model. The most comprehensive information regarding this model can be found on the Illinois State Board of Education’s website at https://www.isbe.net/ebf2018.
The impact on Avoca will be minimal this year. For the 2017-2018 school year, the state has shared that at a minimum all Illinois school districts will receive the same amount of money from the state as they did during the 2016-2017 school year. They refer to that as a “hold harmless” clause. Going forward, we do not know how this new funding formula will affect Avoca. It is a topic that many school districts are grappling with at this time.
The Evidence Based Funding model takes into consideration a minimum adequacy target, a district’s student characteristics (such as low income, English learner and special education), a regional factor (think of this as a cost of living multiplier), and the local community’s ability to contribute. We have received preliminary information from the state regarding how the formula will be implemented, but at this time do not know exactly what this will look like for Avoca. The state has asked for a few months to figure all of this out themselves, and we will update you as we learn more.
Recently, Avoca community members received the Annual Review/Back to School Edition of the Vision (linked here), our community newsletter. On page 4 there is an article titled Financial Review, which shares information about the district’s revenues and expenditures for 2016-2017, the budget expectations for 2017-2018 and exhibits that visually communicate our revenue sources, expenditures and reserve level. I encourage you to take some time to read that article.
As you will see in that article, at this time, Avoca’s expenditures are outpacing our revenues causing us to dip into our reserves to make up the difference. While we are currently investigating ways to minimize our expenses and increase revenues, we do project a pattern of deficit spending in order to continue to meet the educational needs of all of our students.