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Peoria area schools big winners under new funding formula

koehler 031617Peoria-area schools could see increases in state funding under the new school funding formula passed by the General Assembly. The new formula, passed as Senate Bill 1, prioritizes new money to schools furthest from equity. 

Some of those school districts that could see large increases include Peoria, Pekin, Canton and Limestone. Under SB 1, major Peoria-area schools are estimated to get the following amounts:

Canton Union Dist. 66


Limestone Community High Dist. 310


Pekin Community High Dist. 303


Pekin Public Schools Dist. 108


Peoria Public Schools Dist. 150



Under the same plan, due to its classification as a high-tax district, East Peoria Community High School District 309 could potentially see property tax relief because of increased state aid.

State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) voted for the new formula, citing the need of downstate Illinois school districts with low property wealth.

“It is no secret that our school funding formula leaves far too many students behind simply because they live in a poor school district,” Koehler said. “This new formula will make sure children in all environments; urban, suburban and rural, are able to get an education at a school that is fairly funded.” 

SB 1 also contains a hold-harmless provision that guarantees no schools will receive less money from the state. 

Bush moves to prevent pay increase for legislators

bush 053117SPRINGFIELD – Illinois legislators will not receive a planned, automatic increase in mileage reimbursements or per diem rates thanks to a measure from Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) that passed in the Illinois Senate today.

“Today marks the 700th day since the state of Illinois has had a budget,” Bush said. “At a time when human service providers are being forced to shut their doors, state universities are laying off professors and administrators are wondering if schools will be funded and be able to open in the fall, it would be inexcusable for legislators to receive a pay increase.”

House Bill 643 freezes the Illinois General Assembly's mileage reimbursement and per diem rates for the upcoming year. In addition, the initiative eliminates the planned FY 18 cost of living adjustment for the members of the legislature and other offices set by the Compensation Review Board. The Comptroller's Office states that the FY 18 cost of living adjustment would be 2.1% without the passage of a freeze.

“Middle-class and working families rarely see pay raises, let alone automatic pay increases,” Bush said. “There is no reason that legislators should receive automatic cost of living adjustments.”

Having passed both chambers with bipartisan support, House Bill 643 now goes to the governor’s desk.

Lightford: Give Illinois workers the raise they have been waiting for

Sen. Kimberly A. Lightford

SPRINGFIELD — Minimum-wage earners statewide could soon see a pay increase as a result of legislation that raises the minimum wage to $15 by January 2022. Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford spearheaded efforts that would give hardworking families a much-needed raise.

“People working full time should earn a living wage,” said Lightford, a Maywood Democrat “We want our workers to be able to support their families, have financial independence and be able to contribute to the state’s economy.”


Plan to give local school boards final say on charter schools passes Senate

holmes 053017SPRINGFIELD – A measure sponsored by State Sen. Linda Holmes, D-Aurora, that would give local school boards the final authority to approve new charter schools has advanced out of the Illinois Senate.

“Much of what I do in Springfield is based on the notion that local governments know what is best for the communities that they serve,” Holmes said. “Local school boards will always know better than the State Charter School Commission what the community needs to properly educate students.”

Current law allows the State Charter School Commission to reverse a local school board’s decision to deny, revoke or not renew a charter. Holmes’ measure would eliminate this provision, giving school boards final approval on decisions regarding charter schools.

Holmes claims that the measure before the Senate is meant to safeguard public school districts against overreach from higher units of government.

“I want the people that we elect to local school boards to make the final decisions in regards to charter schools,” Holmes said. “It is important that we protect local school boards from state and federal overreach.”

House Bill 768 was approved by the Senate yesterday. It now moves to the governor for further review.