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February 11, 1999


ST. ANNE -- Gov. George H. Ryan today signed legislation that alleviates some of the financial difficulties of a high school in Kankakee County by providing more than $500,000 in funding from general and supplemental state aid.

At a high school assembly, Ryan signed House Bill 448, which allows St. Anne Community High School District 302 to use the low-income eligible pupil count from the 1980 federal census instead of the 1990 census in order to capture additional government aid. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate and overwhelmingly in the House.

"This bill enables St. Anne to capture more than $530,000 in additional state aid this school year and in future years until the new census count has been completed," Ryan said. "It remedies an unfortunate situation which made the district rely on census data that included an undercount of the number of students at the school."

House Bill 448 allows high school districts with fewer than 400 students to use a low-income eligible pupil count from the earlier federal census to determine funding levels, if the percentage decrease from the two most recent federal censuses, in a district, exceeds by 75 percent or more the percentage change in the total pupil count of a contiguous elementary school district.

"Last year, St. Anne Superintendent Larry Newell and local legislators informed me that because of current state law, the school forfeited years of needed funding, putting school finances in dire straits causing officials to contemplate closing down this campus," Ryan said.

Local officials lobbied the General Assembly for passage of the measure to change the census formula for the district. Ryan said district officials plan to use the money to restore some programs and complete some building repairs.

"Education is the number one priority of my administration," he added, "and the students at this school deserve the chance to get a good education. That is why I am pleased to be able to sign this legislation."

House Bill 488 was sponsored in the Senate by state Sen. Christine Radogno, R-LaGrange; Sen. Larry Walsh, D-Elwood; Sen. Art Berman, D-Chicago; Sen. Patrick O'Malley, R-Alsip; and Sen. Jim Rea, D-Christopher; and in the House by state Rep. Chuck Hartke, D-Teutopolis; Rep. Vince Persico, R-Glen Ellyn; Rep. Suzanne Deuchler, R, Aurora; and Rep. Larry Woolard, D-Marion.


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