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School District Reorganization Feasibility Studies

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FY 2015 Grant Funds - Procedures and Allotment

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Feasibility studies are a tool to be used by school districts wanting to investigate the advantages and/or disadvantages of reorganization options. Each feasibility study must contain specified performance items, conclusions and/or recommendations for each performance item of the study, and a final conclusion and/or recommendation on the reorganization options for the districts involved in the study.

PROCEDURES

The procedures for requesting funds to conduct a school district reorganization feasibility study during fiscal year 2015 are:

  1. Interested school districts shall negotiate a proposed agreement to secure the services of a consultant to conduct a reorganization feasibility study.  The agreement must contain (but not be limited to):
    1. Effective Dates
    2. Consultant fees (state grant funds and local funds, if any)
    3. Performance Items of the study (including but not limited to):
    • Transportation
    • Current system of districts
    • Issues in combining systems
    • Transportation equipment – current and needs
    • Increase or decrease to mileage/routing by combining
    • Contracting vs. district owned systems, if applicable
    • Facilities
    • Condition and capacity of current facilities
    • Capacity needed due to reorganization
    • Elimination or closing of buildings
    • New construction needed
    • Curriculum
    • Current class/course offerings
    • Strengths and/or limitations of curriculum
    • Effect to curriculum after reorganization
    • Change in AP, Career Tech, Foreign Language, and Fine Arts curriculum as a result of the reorganization
    • Finance
    • 5-Year projected consolidated budget
    • Expected budget savings / Economies of scale
    • Tax Rates – current, estimated, effect to each community
    • EAV
    • Salaries
    • Local, state, and federal revenue sources
    • Reorganization Incentives
    • Fund Balances
    • Legal Debt Limit/Legal Debt Margin
    • Comparison of Financial Profile for all districts
    • Enrollment
    • Past enrollment trends
    • Current enrollment
    • 5-Year enrollment projections and effect on building capacity
    • Staffing
    • Administration, instructional, and support staff
    • Student/teacher ratios
    • Current and minimal projected staff needs
    • Demographics / Academic Testing
    • Comparison of testing results per School Report Card
    • Comparisons of demographics, percent of low income students, mobility, truancy, graduation rates, attendance rates, students with disabilities, English Language Learners (ELL), etc.
    • Extra-Curriculum Activities
    • Current athletic and non-athletic activities of district
    • Effect on extra-curriculum activities due to reorganization
    • Justification of and recommendation on type of reorganization and combination of district(s)

  2. The school board of each district involved must approve, by board action, the initiation of the feasibility study. The superintendent of each district must sign the feasibility study agreement. The school districts shall submit the completed agreement form to the Regional Superintendent (ROE) or the Executive Director of the Intermediate Service Center (ISC) in Cook County. In the event the reorganization under study involves more than one region, the documents would be submitted to the ROE/ISC having jurisdiction over the district with the greatest amount of EAV for approval, with copies and notice of submission to the responsible ROE/ISC posted simultaneously to other affected Regional Offices.

  3. ROE/ISC reviews the agreement form for approval or denial
    1. If approved, the ROE/ISC signs the agreement form and submits to the School Business Services Division (SBS) of the State Board of Education
    2. If denied, the ROE/ISC returns agreement to the school districts with a letter of explanation

  4. SBS reviews the agreement form for approval or denial
    1. If approved, SBS notifies the ROE/ISC of the approval. A signed copy of the agreement form will be returned for ROE/ISC records.
    2. If denied, SBS notifies ROE/ISC of denial and returns agreement for further work or clarification

  5. ROE/ISC notifies school districts of the approval of the agreement for work on the study to be initiated.

  6. At conclusion of the study, copies of the final study should be provided to the school districts and the ROE/ISC. The school districts shall also submit a completed Payment Approval form to the ROE/ISC.

  7. ROE/ISC reviews, verifies, and approves or denies study for preliminary approval of payment
    1. If approved, the ROE/ISC signs the payment form and submits to SBS along with a copy of the final study. An electronic version of the study is preferred for submission to SBS.
    2. If denied, ROE/ISC provides written notification to school districts with explanation of denial; if needed, the study should be returned to the feasibility consultant for further work or clarification

  8. SBS reviews, verifies, and approves or denies study for final approval of payment
    1. If approved, SBS notifies the Funding and Disbursement Services Division to voucher the appropriate funds for release to the ROE/ISC. The Illinois Comptroller will make the payment of the appropriate funds.
    2. If denied, SBS notifies ROE/ISC of denial and returns study for further work or clarification

  9. When funds are received from the Comptroller, ROE/ISC forwards the payment to the consultant or school district(s) per the signed agreement

In order to receive the reorganization feasibility study funds, all studies must be completed and approved for payment no later than June 30, 2015. 

A conclusion and/or recommendation must be included for each component in the study.  A final conclusion and/or recommendation on reorganization options for the districts involved must be included in the study.  Studies lacking required components will not be approved for payment.

REQUEST HOLD ON FUNDING

A “hold” may be requested for feasibility study funding by completing the Request for Feasibility Study Funds form. This will allow districts the time to complete the agreement with their consultants without fear of losing funding. A hold will be granted for 30 days from the receipt of the Request for Feasibility Study Funds form. If a completed and signed agreement is not received within 30 days the hold on the funding will be released. The funds will then be available for general distribution on a first come-first served basis.