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Bush: 31st District schools stand to gain nearly $12 million under education funding reform proposal

bush 040617SPRINGFIELD – The latest school funding reform numbers show that a fake news group backed by Gov. Bruce Rauner was indeed pedaling misinformation regarding public school funding in Illinois in the weeks leading up to approval of a historic education finance overhaul.

“The State Board of Education’s analysis of Senate Bill 1 proves what proponents have been saying all along—no school districts in Illinois would lose money under the new formula,” said Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake). “The Lake County Gazette – conservative political propaganda disguised as a newspaper, funded by hyper-partisan WIND talk show host Dan Proft – tried to mislead Illinoisans by using an analysis of a completely different school funding reform bill from last year and claiming that the numbers in that analysis were from Senate Bill 1.”

An analysis only recently made public by Rauner’s education agency shows that no school districts in Illinois would lose money under the plan lawmakers recently approved. In fact, schools in the 31st District are estimated to gain $11,539,070 in state funding under the Senate’s plan. Supporters had said holding the line on funding was key to getting support for the overhaul that does away with the current, antiquated funding system and instead targets new state dollars to schools facing the toughest economic and educational challenges.

“Republicans are going around the state pushing fake information and making up excuses because the truth is they voted against a bill that would help their local schools,” Bush said.

The new plan seeks to maintain funding for schools that are doing well while increasing support for those that are struggling. It’s a reform more than two decades in the works and one that still faces major political obstacles.

Gov. Rauner was already threatening to veto the historic education overhaul even before lawmakers had given it final approval. As a result, the Senate is delaying sending the paperwork to the governor’s desk in hope cooler heads will prevail and the governor will recognize he’s getting a win on a key policy he’s wanted.

Rauner promised to change the school funding system and put his hand-picked education secretary in charge of an elite taskforce. But that taskforce failed to deliver an actual plan. Lawmakers stepped in to finish the job of not just drafting the plan, but then approving it.

In the midst of this work, a fake news site began spreading erroneous numbers, saying schools across the state were going to lose money. These numbers appeared on political news sites such as the Lake County Gazette. 

It was later revealed that the so-called latest numbers were actually pulled out of a different plan from more than a year ago. Unfortunately, Rauner and his education secretary never warned public school administrators and the taxpaying public to set the record straight on public school funding.

“Dan Proft and the Lake County Gazette are attempting to misinform readers by pretending to be a real, objective newspaper and pushing fake news to unsuspecting readers,” Bush said. “The Lake County Gazette’s attempt to intentionally misinform Illinoisans is absolutely disgraceful. Illinoisans deserve to know the truth.”

Clayborne votes for fair funding, property tax relief for area schools

clayborne05052017CM0335rSPRINGFIELD – High-poverty, downstate school districts, shortchanged for decades under Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation education funding formula, could see a significant influx of funding to level the playing field with wealthier school districts under a landmark school funding reform measure that passed in both houses of the legislature this week.

“The current funding formula puts many students in our communities at a tremendous disadvantage and has forced local school districts to hike up property tax rates. I am proud to join my colleagues to support additional funding for our schools and property tax relief for our communities,” said Senator James F. Clayborne (D-Belleville).

Senate Bill 1 has strong support from thousands of school administrators, superintendents, principals, educators, taxpayers and advocates for fair school funding. Illinois’ school funding formula has not been updated in more than 20 years and is considered one of the worst in the nation because it relies so heavily on local property wealth.

An analysis of Illinois State Board of Education figures released estimates this week by Funding Illinois’ Future – a coalition that advocates for school funding reform – shows potential funding increases for area school districts under Senate Bill 1, an evidence-based model that accounts for factors such as students with disabilities, English language learners and low-income students.

It also provides extra support for the neediest districts in the quest for adequate funding, and it offers property tax relief.

No school district would receive less funding under Senate Bill 1 than they have received under Illinois’ current school funding formula.

The estimated overall gain some area school districts would experience under the Funding Illinois’ Future analysis of SB1 based on FY17 funding levels:

  • Belle Valley School District 119 - $437,238
  • Belleville School District 118 - $1,401,597
  • Belleville Township High School District 201 - $1,941,563
  • Brooklyn Unit District 188 - $36,744
  • Cahokia Community Unit District 187 - $551,826
  • East St. Louis School District 189 - $1,357,558
  • Freeburg Community Consolidated School District 70 - $32,974
  • Freeburg Community High School District 77 - $47,618
  • Granite City Community Unit School District 9 - $2,333,657
  • Grant Community Consolidated School District 110- $29,708
  • Harmony EMGE School District 175 - $69,982
  • High Mount School District 116 - $209,352
  • Lebanon Community Unit School District 9 - $39,789
  • Madison Community Unit School District 12 - $107,926
  • Millstadt Community Consolidated School District 160 - $24,580
  • O’Fallon  Community Consolidated School District 90 - $164,969
  • O’Fallon Township High School District 203 - $375,419
  • Shiloh Village School District 85 - $46,946
  • Signal Hill School District 181 - $104,876
  • Smithton Community Consolidated School District 3 - $19,989
  • Whiteside School District 115 - $66,197
  • Wolf Branch School District 113 - $25,444

In addition, under Senate Bill 1, high-tax school districts are eligible for property tax relief up to 1 percent of their EAV. Estimated property tax relief for two area school districts:

  • Cahokia Community Unit School District 187 - $64,904
  • East St. Louis School District 189 - $79,425

To review the Funding Illinois’ Future analysis, visit fundingilfuture.org.

Bertino-Tarrant: Our children are more important than politics

BertinoTarrant03072017SPRINGFIELD — Schools could see a positive change to the worst-in-the-nation school funding formula due to legislation that passed the Illinois General Assembly last week.

“Senate Bill 1 was thoroughly vetted by education organizations throughout the state. It is a plan that will fix the worst funding formula in the country and will provide needed property tax relief to some school districts,” State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) said.

“I am disappointed that the governor continues to play the blame game and partisan politics with our children’s education. I hope the governor reconsiders his threat of vetoing legislation that will provide not only needed funds for special education and low-income students, but will address other best practices such as low class sizes and counselors in schools.”

Senate Bill 1 would be the first significant reform of the school funding mechanisms in more than 20 years.

Prior to passing the Illinois Senate, estimates of what Senate Bill 1 would do to funding according to appropriations for the current school year were made public by the Illinois State Board of Education. It showed that no school district throughout the state would lose funding under the plan.

The estimated overall gain that some area schools would experience under Senate Bill 1:

  • Oswego Community Unit School District 308 -- $4.77 million
  • Plainfield School District 202 -- $5.80 million
  • Troy Community Consolidated School District 30C -- $144,135
  • Joliet Township HS District 204 -- $1.65 million
  • Valley View CUSD #365U -- $1.61 million
  • Indian Prairie CUSD 204 -- $861,287

Cullerton and Sanders agree school funding changes good for DuPage Schools

tcullerton 022817 178BARTLETT- State Senator Tom Cullerton passed a series of reforms to help lower Bartlett property taxes and ensure DuPage schools are fairly funded.

Cullerton worked to pass a series of reforms that will lead to property tax savings through government consolidation measures, property tax relief and working to guarantee Illinois schools are funded the right way.

Senate Bill 3, which will spread Cullerton’s bipartisan government consolidation model statewide, passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support. This measure will allow counties to dissolve certain units of local government through a voter referendum.

“My goal is to save money, reduce taxes and make sure government is working for the people,” Cullerton said “The best way to lower property taxes is to put government consolidation decisions in the hands of the people who receive the services. This one small step will lower property tax bills and streamline government services.”

Cullerton supported Senate Bill 1, which will help schools such as U-46 and District 300, which have been shortchanged for decades under the existing education funding formula. These districts could soon see a significant increase of funding to level the playing field with neighboring school districts but not at the expense of other school districts. No school district in Illinois will lose funding under the new proposed formula.

The increase in funding to schools passed by the Senate this legislative session will work toward giving schools in need of extra support based on an evidence-based model that accounts for factors such as students with disabilities and low-income students.

U-46 Superintendent Tony Sanders joined superintendents, school administrators and educators across DuPage County and Illinois to support Senate Bill 1.

“We’re grateful for all legislators who supported this significant school funding legislation but especially local legislators like Sen. Tom Cullerton. Senate Bill one is for us--the kids, families, and educators who make up the heart of U-46,” said Sanders. “SB1 aligns to the mission and values of the Governor's school funding reform commission. No district loses money but we’ll finally see equity in that state funds will better support both low-income and low property wealth districts."

The state’s school funding formula has not been updated in more than 20 years and is considered one of the worst in the nation because it relies so heavily on local property taxes. Cullerton believes this funding plan will help DuPage residents in Bartlett, Carol Stream and Hanover Park see lower property tax bills.

“Illinois needs to move toward a school funding system that is fair and gives all children, regardless of their ZIP code, a chance to succeed,” Cullerton said. “We are evening the playing field for children in districts such as U-46 and District 300 but not at the expense of the children attending other DuPage County school districts. This funding method will move Illinois from a formula with winners and losers to a system that gives all of the children across our communities an opportunity to succeed.”

For a list of school districts in the 23rd Senate District, Cullerton urges area residents to call his Villa Park Office at (630) 903-6662 or visit www.SenatorTomCullerton.com.