Computer snafu might cost schools $1 million

North Chicago Community Unit School District 187 stands to lose close to $1 million in federal Impact Aid funding because of an apparent glitch in the submission of an electronic application form, reports the Waukegan News Sun. But U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., is intervening and asking that the penalty be waived. The school district qualifies for “heavily impacted aid” owing to the number of students it receives from Naval Station Great Lakes, and last year it received more than $8.6 million in Impact Aid funding, about one-third of its budget. The district recently was notified by the U.S. Department of Education that it had missed a Feb. 1 deadline to apply for fiscal year 2011 funding and that a 10 percent penalty would be subtracted from its funding for the year. Kirk said there is evidence the district submitted a faxed copy of the application on Feb. 1, meeting the department’s deadline. The error in submitting the electronic application could be attributed to a “vague and confusing” electronic application that has a second submit button that the district might not have hit in completing the form, he said. District Superintendent Lauri Hakanen said he has learned that six other school districts were in the same situation, and that the submit-button glitch appeared to be at the receiving end of the application process, which might be reconfigured for future applications…

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