Rockford Public Schools will receive $1.6 million more than originally estimated for the current fiscal year and school year according to new information from the state. District leaders recently learned about calculations for Fiscal Year 2020, which runs July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.
In 2018 the state announced a comprehensive change to the way school districts receive most of their state money. That change replaced General State Aid. The state will now provide about $155.5 million vs. the previous estimate of $153.9 million:
Evidence Based Funding from the state:
Fiscal year 2018 $134,379,141
Fiscal year 2019 $143,839,384
Fiscal year 2020 $155,520,031
The new funding formula considers 26 essential elements or cost factors, which determine what every district needs to deliver a high-quality, well-rounded education. Rockford is rated a tier-one, high priority district, and was funded last year at only 60 percent of the cost of what the state deems it needs to provide students with an adequate education. This year the district will be funded at 61 percent. The goal is to get all Illinois schools to 90 percent of the cost of an adequate education – or adequacy target – within the next decade.
With the new money, the district's top priorities continue to be:
- Investing in site-based budgets for schools and giving them the flexibility and support they need to improve student performance; and
- Offering relief to taxpayers. As costs increase, the administration and School Board have been able to hold the line on the district's tax levy since 2011. The district is on track to reduce the tax rate from $7.93 in 2015 to an anticipated $7 in levy year 2019.
"I want to again credit our local legislators for prioritizing Rockford students," said Superintendent Ehren Jarrett. "This new model allows us to target our schools that need the most support and still give our taxpayers much-needed relief."
More finance news:
- The Government Finance Officers Association awarded the district the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018. The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting.
- The Association of School Business Officials International awarded RPS 205 the Association's Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting for the same fiscal year. According to the Association, the award represents a significant achievement and reflects the district's commitment to transparency and high-quality financial reporting.