A list showing how long Illinois school districts could operate without state funding went viral in the days before state lawmakers agreed to a K-12 funding bill. It was no hoax, but it wasn't correct either.
The document lists 852 Illinois public school districts, the lawmaker representing each district, and the date the school would have run out of money had the state not passed a school funding bill.
The Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance, a coalition of state educational organizations, commissioned the report. Michael Jacoby, CEO of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials, said, "The data in that .pdf is really just our internal work to try and identify the problems, potentially if there were no state budget." He said that the document wasn't going be to released because the numbers were off, but somehow it was leaked to the public. In the days following the leak, he said he received phone calls from school officials challenging the data.
Jacoby said that while the numbers were off, they weren't that far off. "In general, you would likely see a little variation. Maybe it's 15. Maybe it's five. We don't know what that range would look like but it's probably not going to be 60," he said.
According to the list, more than 500 districts would have been able to weather an entire school year without state dollars. Topping the list for the school in the worst financial shape was downstate Frankfort School District 168.