"This is one of several issues districts are struggling with," said Mary Fergus. She works for the Illinois State Board of Education. She says this issue has been going on for three years.
"The state now owes about $700 million to districts, it's actually down a bit. It was up to a billion dollars more than a year ago," she said.
But, many districts have finally reached their tipping point. Take Georgetown-Ridge Farm for example, it's getting ready to shut down Ridge Farm Elementary School.We've seen how bad it is for them, but what about other schools in the area? We decided to check into it.
The five districts we researched are all owed millions, all waiting on payments from four months ago.
Springfield: $4.4 million
Decatur: $1.8 million
Champaign: $2 million
Urbana: $1.9 million
"They are getting general state aid on a timely basis. But everything else has been delayed," said Fergus.
Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka is in charge of payments. She says she's trying to make education a priority. But, she can only give out what the state can afford.These districts are owed money for all kinds of things. Like funding for free lunch and breakfast programs, and special education and early childhood education.
Governor Quinn says he's dedicated to finding more money. Lawmakers are also working on ways to fix this problem.