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Education Funding

  • jbt041415PLAINFIELD — State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) issued the following statement after being appointed to the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission. 

    Modernizing our state’s outdated education funding system must be a priority. Every student should be given the chance to receive a quality education and fulfill their potential. We need to do what is right for our students and fairly fund our schools. The Governor’s creation of this commission demonstrates the seriousness of this issue. I look forward to working in a bipartisan manner with members of the commission to find solutions which will put needed resources into classrooms throughout my district and across Illinois.

    Gov. Bruce Rauner announced the creation of the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission this week. The commission will be comprised of five legislators from each caucus and five educational experts.

    Bertino-Tarrant is a life-long educator who served as the regional school superintendent for Will County prior to being elected to the Illinois Senate.

    It is anticipated that the commission will start meeting this summer.

  • jbt 120817PLAINFIELD- State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) advanced legislation to ensure public schools are funded adequately before any state funds are diverted to pay for tax breaks to wealthy individuals and corporate scholarship donors. 

    “This initiative solidifies our bipartisan goal to fund our public schools in a way that guarantees our children are provided an excellent education regardless of their zip code,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Every single dollar in state education spending should go toward the adequate education of our children until the disparities created by generations of systematic inequality in Illinois’ school system are fixed.”

    Bertino-Tarrant’s measure, Senate Bill 2236, was filed in response to Senate Bill 1947, which includes a five-year pilot program that would award a 75 percent tax credit to donors that contribute to scholarship funds for students to attend non-public schools. The credits are capped at of up to $1 million per taxpayer and $75 million statewide.  

    “Public education should be the top priority,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It is unacceptable that these tax credits are diverting resources away from the classroom.”

    Bertino-Tarrant said this could take valuable taxpayer dollars away from Illinois’ public schools especially if the minimum funding level is not met.   

    “The bipartisan reform passed in the Senate and House stipulated that the General Assembly shall meet the minimum funding level each year. This new measure simply helps guarantee the legislature stays true to its promises,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

    The new school funding mechanism outlined in Senate Bill 1947 established an evidence-based funding formula to dispense state dollars to public schools. The formula institutes a base funding minimum that serves as a hold harmless to ensure school districts do not lose state dollars year after year.

    Any additional funding the General Assembly appropriates is distributed through a tier-based system that prioritizes the state’s poorest and most disadvantaged schools. The funding plan outlined in the new law includes a minimum funding level of $350 million in additional funding each year, with the goal of meeting the total statewide adequacy target over a period of time.

    Senate Bill 2236 passed the Senate’s Committee on Education and moves to the full senate for consideration.

  • bush 050516GRAYSLAKE — State Senator Melinda Bush called on her fellow lawmakers to approve an education package that will increase preschool through 12th grade funding and school poverty grants to levels long recommended by the state.

    “Under this plan, the Lake County schools I represent in Springfield see much-needed funding increases,” said Bush, D-Grayslake. “This plan ensures our schools open their doors on time and reflects an area on which the governor and I wholeheartedly agree: We must adequately fund schools. I ask all Springfield lawmakers to give this measure their full support.”

    Slated for consideration Wednesday, Senate Bill 2054 would increase General State Aid to schools by $760 million and include grants to school districts based on need. It also includes a $75 million increase to Early Childhood Education in keeping with Gov. Bruce Rauner’s proposed budget. Funding would carry Illinois public schools through the remainder of the calendar year as the General Assembly continues to negotiate a 2017 budget.

    Under the new budget plan:

    • Round Lake District 116 would see an increase of $4,862,091.
    • Wauconda District 118 would see an increase of $1,835,817.
    • Grayslake District 46 would see an increase of $1,704,466, and high school District 127 would see an increase of $750,513.
    • Zion District 6 would see an increase of $1,794,422 and Zion-Benton high school District 126 would see an increase of $713,219.
    • Antioch District 34 would see an increase of $982,150.
    • Big Hollow District 38 would see an increase of $802,289.
    • Beach Park District 3 would see an increase of $696,693.
    • Warren Township District 121 would see an increase of $675,903.
    • Woodland District 50 would see an increase of $406,821.
    • Gavin District 37 would see an increase of $223,594.
    • Millburn District 24 would see an increase of $194,927.
    • Winthrop Harbor District 1 would see an increase of $192,118.
    • Emmons District 33 would see an increase of $8,653.
    • Gurnee District 56 would see an increase of $334,845.

    “This is a compromise that’s good for our students,” Bush said. “I’m looking forward to the General Assembly working together to pass it.”

    The Illinois General Assembly reconvenes June 29 to consider the legislation.

  • bennett 040616CHAMPAIGN- Local schools will receive $5.9 million more under a new plan being assembled in the Illinois Senate. 

    State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) supports legislation to increase education funding for Champaign County students and allow schools to open their doors on time this fall.

    Champaign County schools would see the following increases in funding:

    Champaign Community Unit School District 4             $2,420,419

    Urbana School District 116                                        $1,761,301

    Rantoul City School District 137                                 $1,197,466

    “Education funding is my top priority,” Bennett said. “It’s important that we all work together to pass a plan to give our children the best opportunity to succeed. This is a clean school funding plan to keep our schools open.”

    This proposal also fully funds agriculture education.

    “It’s important for us to educate and train Illinois’ future farmers,” Bennett said. “Agribusiness is the backbone of Illinois’ economy. We need to continue to make investments in this essential industry.”  

    The Senate will convene on Wednesday at noon to take action on pending budget measures.

  • TC dupage 041416VILLA PARK- DuPage County schools may see an increase in education funding for the fourth year in a row thanks to State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park).

    Cullerton is working on a plan to increase education funding and to allow DuPage County schools to open on time this fall.

    “We have continued to increase education funding every year since I have been in the state senate,” Cullerton said. “As the father of three young boys, I understand what DuPage County parents are looking for.”

    All of the schools in Cullerton’s district will see a major increase in funding.

    “The only way to lower suburban property taxes is if we start funding schools properly,” Cullerton said.

    Under this plan, Addison School District would see a $2.6 million increase and Villa Park School District 45 would receive an additional $939,825 in funding. 

    Cullerton did not support the Illinois Senate Democrats’ earlier plan, Senate Bill 231, which would pick winners and losers in schools across his district. He believes the legislature shouldn’t be in the business of taking money away from one school at the expense of another. 

    “I refuse to support a plan that would advance one school, at the expense of another,” Cullerton said. “It’s important to give all students an opportunity to succeed.”

    The Senate will convene on Wednesday at noon to take action on pending budget measures.

  • forby bailoutBENTON - Southern Illinois schools would be big winners under a clean school funding plan being finalized that Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) said he will support at the Capitol on Wednesday.

    Local schools would see their state support increase by nearly $10 million over what they received this past year. In fact, Forby said no school would lose funding if the plan manages to become law, which would require approval in the Senate, Illinois House and the governor’s signature.

    “No more games. People need to put politics aside to ensure our schools open on time,” Forby said. “This plan fully funds our schools. Springfield will stop shortchanging us and cheating our schools, our students, our teachers and our taxpayers out of the money they were promised.”

    As proposed, for the first time in years the state would fully fund its commitment to local schools, and put an end to several years’ worth of the state knowingly cutting back payments to them. This practice was especially unfair to Southern Illinois schools while wealthy suburban Chicago districts were able to cope more easily with the cuts.

    Examples of local school gains under the proposal:

    Herrin School District would see a $914,000 increase, raising its state support to more than $11.7 million. That’s an 8 percent increase over previous state support.

    Marion School District would see a nearly $882,000 increase, which would take its total state aid to more than $9.5 million. That’s a 10 percent increase over what the state provided last year.

    Massac School District would get a nearly $576,000 increase to more than $9.1 million in state aid. That’s a 7 percent increase in state support.

    Cairo School District would get an additional $522,000. Total state support for Cairo schools would be more than $3.6 million, a 17 percent increase.

    Harrisburg School District would see its state support increase by more than $623,000 to almost $9.8 million. That’s a 7 percent increase.

    Forby said the deal is too good for Southern Illinois to pass up.

    “Every school in the region will see an increase in funding. That’s a plan I can support,” Forby said. “We all know Southern Illinois schools have been shortchanged for years. That ends now. It’s time we got our fair share.”

    The Senate plans to take up the proposal on Wednesday.

  • At a press conference at the Capitol on Thursday, State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) joined State Representative’s Brandon Phelps (D-Harrisburg) and John Bradley (D-Marion) in speaking out about the need for better K-12 funding.

    Sen. Forby released the following statement:

    “Our district has been hit as hard as any other place in Illinois. The state shut our prisons down, they shut our juvenile detention centers down, now they want to shut our schools down. Schools are our last straw. They talk about downsizing our prisons - well, you’re not going to downsize our prisons if you shut our schools down."

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  • Harmon03032016SPRINGFIELD — School districts from Oak Park to Addison stand to receive more than $15 million in additional funding under a bipartisan budget proposal to be voted on when senators return to Springfield this week.

    The education funding bill is part of a broader series of measures to keep the state running as the current budget year winds down. State Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) noted that the measure clearly establishes education funding as a top priority for the state."

    “This is the clean education bill that the governor wanted.” Harmon said. “We have listened to his feedback regarding earlier proposals. I hope the governor will sign this bill into law as soon as possible so that our schools open on schedule and teacher and administrators have time to plan for the year ahead.”

    Under the proposal, $760 million in additional money is provided so that every school in the state receives state foundation level funding. As it stands, that means several school districts in the 39th District will receive more than $1 million in additional funding for the upcoming school year, and every school in the district will receive more this year than they did last year. 

    “This is a great step forward. With increased support and certainty from the state, every single student, no matter the ZIP code, will have a better chance of receiving a quality education,” Harmon said. “It’s the right thing to do.” 

    The Illinois Senate returns to Springfield on Wednesday.

  • hunter 062816CHICAGO – More than $25 million in state funding for youth employment and after-school programs is up for a vote in the Illinois Senate on Wednesday.

    “Once thriving after-school programs on Chicago’s South Side are struggling to remain open,” said State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago), a career advocate for youth jobs and violence prevention in the city. “Last year, I met teenage filmmakers at After School Matters who used their cameras to lead anti-violence efforts in our community. Now, those teens are at risk of losing the very activities that kept them safe during dangerous summers.”

    In November, Hunter visited the video and music production program TechKno Camp to participate in the students short docudrama focused on violence prevention.

    An Illinois Senate-assembled plan would provide $13 million for youth programs like Teen Reach and $12 million for youth employment and after-school programs in the state.

    Additional proposals to provide $655 million to public universities including Chicago State University and increase Chicago Public Schools’ funding by $286 million are on the table for Wednesday.

    “I hope the governor will give our youth a fighting chance by adequately funding youth programs, K-12 education and public universities,” Hunter said.

    The Senate will convene on Wednesday at noon to take action on pending budget measures.

  • hutchinson mediaSPRINGFIELD – Kankakee-area schools would see more than $5.5 million more in state funding next year under a plan being considered tomorrow in the Illinois Senate.

    “Investing in the future success of our students starts with ensuring our classrooms are well-equipped and ready to train the leaders of tomorrow,” supporter State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) said. “Increasing state funding for school districts not only accomplishes this goal but also takes the pressure off communities with little property wealth to draw resources from.”

    Under the plan being considered, Kankakee School District 111 would see a $4,556,749 increase, Bradley School District 61 would see a $469,701 increase, Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School would see a $399,546 increase and Bourbonnais Elementary School District 53 would see a $282,688 increase.

    “Many school districts would not be able to open on time this year without receiving their state payments,” Hutchinson said. “This plan brings stability to families and teachers and ensures schools open on time this fall.”

    The proposal is expected to be debated and called for a vote tomorrow when the Senate returns to Springfield.

  • lightford 051116SPRINGFIELD- Senate Democrats sent a measure to the House that restructures the formula for distributing funds to school districts throughout the state. Senate Bill 231 increases funds for districts in need while maintaining level funding for others. Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) released the following statement.

    “The reality is that our current system for distributing funds to our schools is broken. This legislation may not be perfect, but if we don’t act soon we’re only going to continue failing to provide resources to children who need them most.

    Our children should be prepared for their future no matter where they live. I urge my colleagues in the House to consider this measure to bring our state’s education system up to date. Our population is constantly changing and that requires changes in the way we educate our children.” 

  • mcguire 030717 1714SPRINGFIELD — State Sen. Pat McGuire today decried Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to stop funding for Advanced Placement, teacher certification and parent mentoring for K-12 students, programs important to Will County schools and communities.

    “Again this year, the governor’s proposed budget cuts funding to zero for effective programs,” McGuire said. “For example, Joliet Township High School District 204 recently won a national award for giving more students the opportunity to earn college credit in high school through AP courses. Yet Governor Rauner wants to eliminate state funding for AP teacher training and AP test discounts for needy students.”

    McGuire noted in a Senate Appropriations Committee hearing today that the Illinois State Board of Education favors funding the very programs the governor wants to eliminate. In response to McGuire’s questions, an ISBE official said the programs build a stronger state.

    “Parents, students and teachers again this year need to speak up for the best opportunities available for students and the best training available for teachers,” McGuire said.

  • murphy 042616SPRINGFIELD – School districts in the Northwest Suburbs would receive $6.5 million more in state funding over last year under a plan being considered in the Illinois Senate.

    “This proposal would ensure schools across the state have the resources necessary to open their doors on time this fall,” State Senator Laura Murphy (D – Des Plaines) said. “We must give students, their parents and teachers the assurance that there will not be any disruptions in education funding due to the budget impasse.”

    School districts in the 28th District that would see increased state funding include Community Consolidated School District 59 ($2,237,269 increase), Schaumburg Township Elementary School District 54 ($1,721,290 increase), Des Plaines School District 62 ($1,524,490 increase), Maine Township High School District 207 ($494,814 increase), Keeneyville Elementary School District 20 ($434,687 increase) and Park Ridge – Niles School District 64 ($117,995 increase).

    “Increasing state support for school districts not only invests in our student’s economic future but also decreases the huge reliance on property taxes as a way to fund our schools,” Murphy said.

  • koehler 040616PEORIA – Area schools stand to gain more than $15 million in state funding under a plan being assembled in the Illinois Senate for a vote on Wednesday.

    Peoria School District 150 would see the biggest gains with a more than $10 million increase in state support. But all other area schools also see gains.

    “All local school districts win under this plan,” said State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria). “We created a clean education bill that the governor could support. Last year, he signed an education budget so I am hopeful he will stand with us to keep schools open.”

    Under the legislation, Pekin Public School District 108 would receive more than $960,000 in funding and East Peoria School District 86 nearly $380,000.

    “This is a positive step toward putting every student on the path to success,” Koehler said. 

    The proposal is expected to be up for a vote Wednesday when the Senate returns to session.

  • sandoval sb231Yesterday, the Illinois Senate moved Senate Bill 231 to try and alleviate this problem, and Senator Martin Sandoval (D-Chicago) supports education funding reform.

    “For too many children in too many communities, their paths to excellence are blocked by the existing school finance system that shortchanges their schools and fails to provide needed resources," said Senate President John J. Cullerton. "It’s an injustice we’ve tolerated too long. Our students, parents, teachers and taxpayers are tired of the bickering; tired of the impasse. They’re looking for leaders with the courage to step beyond the status quo and do what’s right."

    Senate Bill 231 is an education finance reform bill that will change the way Illinois schools are funded. The new formula replaces the current method by taking into account characteristics of each school district, including low-income pupil count, number of English learners and special education students.

    “This is an important step to make sure low-income and minority students in my district get the education they deserve," said Senator Sandoval, an advocate on school construction, who has worked with Senator Manar for three years on this issue. Chicago Public Schools as well as Lyons, Summit, Argo Community, Berwyn, Cicero and Burbank schools look to benefit from the new formula.

    "Too many districts are struggling under the current way we finance schools in Illinois," Senator Sandoval said. “On behalf of students in my communities and across Illinois, I commend Senator Manar for his leadership on this critical issue. It comes at a crucial time for working families.”

    The bill passed the Illinois Senate and now heads to the Illinois House of Representatives.

  • manar 031418Manar urges governor to sign measure promptly

    SPRINGFIELD – The state will be able to distribute eagerly awaited funding under Illinois’ new education formula as soon as April under legislation approved by the Senate – as long as the governor chooses to act quickly when it reaches his desk.

    The measure, approved Wednesday, is a trailer bill to Illinois’ historic 550-page school funding reform law. It was requested by state education officials who said clarifications and corrections were needed to the original language before they could ensure money would be distributed as intended under the new funding model.

  • harris 040516HARVEY - State Sen. Napoleon Harris, D-Harvey, issued the following statement Wednesday  morning after voting in favor of a comprehensive P-12 funding package that passed the Illinois Senate 37-19.

    “Our schools have waited in uncertainty for too long, wondering whether or not they would be able to open their doors this fall,” Harris said. “We approved this plan to fulfill our duty to Illinois students and to take the first step in compromising with the governor on a budget.

    “It is unfortunate that the Senate did not approve funding for human services and universities last night, but this fight is not over. I’m determined to return and debate in favor of full funding for these essential services that support our most promising students and protect our most vulnerable citizens.”

  • jjc sb231SPRINGFIELD - Statement from Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton regarding approval of SB 231, which reforms the state’s classroom funding formula.

    “Today marks a significant step forward in creating a new classroom funding formula that recognizes the real needs of students across Illinois.

    For too many children in too many communities, their paths to excellence are blocked by the existing school finance system that shortchanges their schools and fails to provide needed resources. It’s an injustice we’ve tolerated too long.

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