MACHESNEY PARK (WIFR) -- In the Harlem School District revenues have been decreasing, while healthcare costs have skyrocketed. What's left is a superintendent between a rock and a hard place trying to make balance sheets add up and keeping faculty happy.
It's been a daunting task especially when state funding is the lowest its been since 2004 and on average the state of Illinois is 106 days late every time it pays a bill. The district has also lost $800,000 in interest revenue since 2007. But the biggest source of the financial trouble? Healthcare costs, when the economy hit rock bottom in 2009 more teachers got sick and costs of prescriptions rose. The district is stuck spending $4 millions more on health care than it did in 2004.
Another issue is low enrollment. Fewer kids are living in the district and going to school there that means attendance numbers are down and unfortunately the state calculates how much money to give the schools based on how many kids are in class every day.
Even though the state's about 106 days late paying Harlem's bills that's much faster than it was in 2010. And what little federal money the schools get - that's paid on time