SPRINGFIELD, Ill (AP) — The Illinois state comptroller is releasing $350 million to public school districts statewide as part of the newly approved education-funding overhaul.

Democrat Susana Mendoza began processing checks Tuesday. The money is part of the evidence-based funding formula approved by the General Assembly last year. It directs money to the neediest districts first with an emphasis on state funding to fill gaps where local resources cannot.

Mendoza will continue making state payments to the state's 850 school districts once more in April and four times in May and June.

There's nearly $50 million more due to the schools from the new funding formula which has not yet been distributed.