DEMS to hold SB 1
“We’re going to continue to hold the bill until the governor comes to his senses and sits down and negotiates with us..." State Senator Andy Manar on Senate Bill 1,
quoted in NPR story, July 17, by Dusty Rhodes
The Illinois State Senate is still holding SB 1, and has NOT sent it to the Governor.
The Governor has stated he will issue an amendatory veto IF AND WHEN HE RECEIVES IT. This is a very dangerous game of chicken where only schools and children will lose. BHJ
ACTION: Veto of SB 1
Governor Rauner has repeatedly and consistently stated he will issue an amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1.
You can urge the Governor to - CHANGE the special ed part of SB 1 to restore Special Education Personnel Reimbursement for ALL of Illinois (Chicago does NOT now have it which is the reason Chicago can reduce its number of special ed teachers and lose ZERO State funds - SB 1 as now written would allow every other school district in Illinois to do that).
The recommended change to SB 1 would provide NEW money through the Tiers so the wealthy districts will continue to get $9,000 per special ed teacher per year, and the poorer Tier I districts (including Chicago) and Tier II districts would eventually get $20,000 or more for each special ed teacher (and other specialized personnel).
Office of the Governor: 217-782-0244
Lies about SB 1
Is ANY politician telling the truth about Senate Bill 1?
The House sponsor says special education will be funded based on "the number of special education students". NO. In the language of SB 1 "Special Education Investments"
will be funding for one position for 141 GENERAL education students. (and that is for almost ALL special ed costs: teachers, OT, PT, social worker, Summer School). Why will special ed Private Tuition be immediately funded at $233,000,000 but not all the rest of special education? Because SB 1 retains Private Tuition as a categorical.
Because SB 1 would ELIMINATE dedicated and direct categorical funding for special ed teachers (eliminate Special Ed Personnel Reimbursement) plus Summer School plus the old Extraordinary. All sides say some schools will NOT OPEN next month (although no one has yet identified even one school that will not open in August). What is true is that many schools could not remain open all school year without State funding. State Sen. Andy Manar, who sponsored Senate Bill 1 to change the method of funding for schools, told The Associated Press a veto by Rauner would effectively KILL SB 1. Manar needs to stop saying we have the “worst school funding formula in the country”.
No, we do not. The lack of funding of our current formula, the failure to increase the Foundation level for 9 years, since 2008, means we rely far too much on the property tax, which results in disparate and inequitable funding. No matter how many times Manar (and others) say it, the problem is not the formula but the lack of funding. (Comment from Capitol Fax, 7/17/17)
Governor Rauner states that his revised SB1 "for the first time, ensures all school districts in Illinois are equitably and adequately funded." His revised plan does NO SUCH THING.
SB 1 (revised or not) is just about funding FORMULAS, not funding. “But as there are many facets to the school funding equation, the one that is most important — and that often is the first component to fall away from the discussion — is funding it. “In truth, our current funding formula would likely be meeting most needs if it was properly funded. “It does attempt to funnel more funding to those districts with less property wealth, but it is still using the foundation level of spending per pupil from 2008. “No formula will work properly with that track record of underfunding.”
"the annual failure to fund the GSA formula at any level close to the recommendations of the Education Funding Advisory Board, which was to have been an iron-clad rule when EFAB was created decades ago. "I don't think there would be an argument about equity if the state funded the 50% of education that the Constitution implies it should and that the GSA "equalization" formula was designed for in the 1970s. "The state can't equalize anything paying just 26%.
"The structure of the formula didn't cause the problem. "Failure to fund the formula as it was intended to be funded, that's what caused the problem and nothing else."
Illinois School News Service, April 27, 2017
SB1: "What a complete mess"
1) SB 1 and either House/Senate Republican alternative are based on Picus/Odden (”Evidence Based”) which has produced great results in exactly NO State. (see below)
(2) None of the bills do anything to reduce massive overspending in Illinois on school administration (as compared with other States).http://www.metroplanning.org/news/7412/More-efficiency-could-help-solve-school-funding-woes-in-Illinoishttp://www.bettergov.org/news/andy-shaw-illinois-school-district-administration-a-bureaucratic-boondoggle
(3) None of the bills REQUIRE schools to do anything that will improve academic achievement.
(4) All of the bills eliminate direct and dedicated funding for special education teachers, based on the theory that Illinois identifies too many students for special education. As State Senator Andy Manar stated (without evidence) to the Rauner Commission, Illinois schools have “dramatic over-identification” of students for special education
(5) SB 1 has as an “essential” part something called Response to Intervention (RTI) which has been called a “Billion-Dollar Boondoggle”.
(6) The combination of (4) and (5) were used in Texas to deny special education to thousands of students, until an award-winning series last year in the Houston Chronicle (named “DENIED”) forced change.
Senate Bill 1 would change all of school funding in Illinois, based on 27 elements (some of which sound great, if funded, but some of which have very weak support or almost no support). And local school districts can completely ignore these 27 elements as SB 1 is just about total funding, not about enforcing mandates. In fact SB 1 removes many funding mandates, including those for special education teachers (Special Education Personnel Reimbursement) and for Special Education Summer School.
No one has done an independent evaluation of these 27 elements. The Rauner Commission tried to get two professors from Chicago to do that, but they eventually declined saying the issues were too complex for them to do an evaluation within a limited time. Little evaluation has been done of the Evidence Based Model (the Picus-Odden model) on which SB 1 is based.
See Capitol Fax comment below. BHJ
A 2007 study on Evidence Based school funding evaluating the one done for the State of Washington: “The procedure is roughly as follows:
1)Find a study, preferably one that has some surface credibility, that shows that a particular intervention had a certain effect on a particular group of students.
2) Ignore all the studies of that intervention that show a smaller effect or no effect at all.
3) Interpret the study as identifying a true causal relationship, not just a correlation or association.
4) Finally, assume that the conditions that produced the very large effect can be perfectly replicated throughout the state of Washington.”
“Few people care about the “studies” on which consultants base their reports, or even their validity, because nobody really expects schools to implement these specific programs if given extra funding.” [IN FACT SB 1 REQUIRES LOCAL SCHOOLS TO IMPLEMENT NONE OF ITS 27 ELEMENTS] “Clients simply want a requisite amount of scientific aura around the number that will become the rallying flag for political and legal actions.”
Chicago Tribune, July 13, 2017 [SB 1 would give the extreme local control given to Chicago in 1995 to every school district in Illinois] - The idea was to provide budgeting flexibility and cut administrative costs by getting rid of paperwork. And the move made CPS [Chicago Public Schools] the only district in the state that doesn’t have to submit a case for receiving the money. The results What happened the next two decades are lessons in good intentions unfulfilled and unintended consequences.... “This was the way to give the mayor more control over the management of their schools, to give him the latitude to make decisions he wanted to make and really put in a policy of accountability." “Who would have thunk that by giving them this authority and latitude, they would make decisions that would ultimately put them in the worst financial position that they are in today?”
GOP education cuts
State grants for special education would receive a small $200 million increase (1.6 percent), but that is better than a cut. BHJ
See Washington Post and Education Week stories below.
House Republicans are seeking to cut the Education Department’s budget by $2.4 billion, or 3.5 percent — a substantial reduction, although far smaller than the $9.2 billion in cuts that President Trump proposed. The House GOP also appears to have largely rejected Trump’s proposals to expand private- and public-school choice, according to education advocates who have studied an Appropriations Committee bill released Wednesday afternoon. Expanding school choice is a key priority for the White House and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos....
Much of the department’s K-12 funding would be unchanged. States would continue to receive about $15.9 billion in Title I funds to serve poor children, and the Office for Civil Rights would also be flat-funded at $108.5 million.......spending plan is still unacceptable. It would cut more than $2 billion in grants for teacher training and class-size reduction, and would reduce after-school grants from $1.2 billion to $1 billion.
However, the budget appears to cut Title II funding for teacher training, which currently stands at about $2 billion. That is in harmony with the Trump budget, which also seeks to scrap the program. The bill, released on Wednesday, would provide $66 billion for the department, down $2.4 billion from the current budget. By contrast, the Trump administration wanted a $9.2 billion cut, down to $59 billion. However, at least a few big-ticket K-12 programs are saved from the budget ax.
The legislation would not fund the $1 billion public school choice program the president proposed in his fiscal 2018 spending blueprint. Nor does it appear to provide any money to the $250 million in state grants to support private school choice that Trump also sought. In fact, the Education Innovation and Research program, which the Trump team sought to use to fund the private school choice initiative, would be entirely eliminated in the House bill—right now, EIR gets $100 million. State grants for special education, meanwhile, would get a $200 million increase from this year (fiscal 2017) up to $12.2 billion, while traditional Title I funding for districts would essentially remain flat at $15.9 billion.
Trump and U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos are seeking a small cut for special education grants, while they sought to keep traditional Title I aid at $14.9 billion, separate from the $1 billion choice program they want under Title I. Funding for the 21st Century Community Schools Program, which funds after-school and other enrichment activities, would be cut by $200 million in the bill, bringing total aid down to $1 billion.
House appropriators went along with the Trump team's push to increase charter school grants. But whereas Trump and DeVos want a 50 percent increase for those grants, up to $500 million, the House bill would only provide a $28 million bump up to $370 million. Also getting an increase from current spending levels: the $400 million Title IV block grant, which would fund a variety of school programs covering everything from ed-tech to student well-being. Trump wants to cut it entirely, but the House bill would increase its funding to $500 million.
Funding for the department's office for civil rights, which like special education has been the focus of much scrutiny during DeVos' tenure, would remain essentially flat at $109 million.
The House appropriations subcommittee for education will hold a hearing on the bill Thursday.
Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-N.J., the chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee, said the bill preserved "fundamental education" programs. And Rep. Tom Cole, R-Okla., highlighted the bill's increases for two programs designed to improve college access for disadvantaged and other students, TRIO and GEAR UP.
Kelly McManus, the director of government affairs for the Education Trust, a civil rights advocacy group, singled out the $2 billion cut to Title II for teacher training as a particularly big move. If that cut is enacted, McManus said, schools would be left to figure out "how they would make ends meet to provide professional development and do teacher recruitment ... particularly in areas where there are shortages." "It would be a massive impact," McManus said. Overall, she said she was surprised that the budget stiff-armed Trump's signature school choice proposals and ignored the administrations' requests elsewhere: "It's not as bad as the Trump budget. It's not good. But it's not that bad."
In a statement, National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen García slammed the House bill, calling the cuts to Title II in particular "draconian." "If enacted, it will deprive millions of students of opportunities by eliminating funding that will result in nearly 8,500 educators losing their jobs, slashing funding for class-size reduction programs, cutting funding for after-school programs that serve the students most in need, and limiting or eliminating professional development opportunities for nearly 2.5 million educators," she said. Chiefs for Change, a group consisting of state and local education superintendents, also slammed the Title II cuts and its potential impact on the shift schools are making to the Every Student Succeeds Act. "Although we support the modest increases for special education programs and charter schools in the draft bill, modest increases won't make up for $2 billion lost in Title II funds," the group said in a statement. http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/campaign-k-12/2017/07/house_spending_bill_trump_budget.html
SB 1:evidence based?
Senate Bill 1 would change all of school funding in Illinois, based on 27 elements (some of which sound great, if funded, but some of which have very weak support or almost no support). And local school districts can completely ignore these 27 elements as SB 1 is just about total funding, not about enforcing mandates. In fact SB 1 removes many funding mandates, including those for special education teachers (Special Education Personnel Reimbursement) and for Special Education Summer School. No one has done an independent evaluation of these 27 elements.
The Rauner Commission tried to get two professors from Chicago to do that, but they eventually declined saying the issues were too complex for them to do an evaluation within a limited time. Little evaluation has been done of the Evidence Based Model (the Picus-Odden model) on which SB 1 is based. See Capitol Fax comment below. BHJ
A 2007 study on Evidence Based school funding evaluating the one done for the State of Washington:
“The procedure is roughly as follows:
1)Find a study, preferably one that has some surface credibility, that shows that a particular intervention had a certain effect on a particular group of students.
2) Ignore all the studies of that intervention that show a smaller effect or no effect at all.
3) Interpret the study as identifying a true causal relationship, not just a correlation or association.
4) Finally, assume that the conditions that produced the very large effect can be perfectly replicated throughout the state of Washington.”
“Few people care about the “studies” on which consultants base their reports, or even their validity, because nobody really expects schools to implement these specific programs if given extra funding.” [IN FACT SB 1 REQUIRES LOCAL SCHOOLS TO IMPLEMENT NONE OF ITS 27 ELEMENTS]
“Clients simply want a requisite amount of scientific aura around the number that will become the rallying flag for political and legal actions.”
Comment on Capitol Fax, July 12, 2017
Still No $ for Schools
Illinois now has a Budget (funded thru a tax increase), but for schools, no way to spend the money.
As ISNS stated today: [Governor Rauner] said he will veto [Senate Bill 1], but the budget bill that is now law requires a distribution of funds through an "evidence-based" system that
would be described nowhere in the state statutes unless SB 1 is signed into law.
So there is money in the State budget for schools, but there is no Illinois law to say how that money must be spent, so ISBE can NOT distribute the money. SB 1 is still being held in the State Senate.
Capitol Fax on Tax Increase override of GUV veto (it got exactly the minimum needed: 71 votes) - From the original 72 yes votes when the bill first passed the Illinois House, these people changed: Republican Reps. Cavaletto, Davidsmeyer, Meier and Reis all switched from being “Yes” on 3rd Reading
to being “No” on the override. So, they lost 5 Republicans (Rep. Pritchard was absent) and still approved the motion.
Democratic Reps. Halpin, Manley, Mayfield and Scherer switched from No to Yes. Scherer had said repeatedly that she was a “No” vote and is considered a target, so that one is really interesting.
Rage; SB 1:Funding or Formula
Their votes this week to approve a new budget — after a fiscal stalemate that made the state a national disgrace for the past two years — have sparked a firestorm of vitriol, with so many Republican legislators reporting that they had received threatening communications that the GOP state House leader’s office sent its lawmakers a memo Wednesday on how to protect themselves. POLITICO, July 5, 2017
While the increase is appealing, District 117 Superintendent Steve Ptacek said he doesn’t know where the money would come from. Currently, funding for schools, while approved by the state, has not been fully paid out, including some general state aid payments and categorical payments. “I don’t see where the state will get the money to fund these increases,” Ptacek said.
Waverly Superintendent Dustin Day said a bill that makes school funding more equitable, without also creating a winner-loser scenario is good, but he is skeptical about the reliability of the state to fund it. Day said, so far this year, Waverly has yet to receive $389,000 in state aid and categorical payments. “The question is,” Day said, “is the formula the problem, or is it a funding problem?" "Funding has been an issue since 2008." "Would the district be in this shape if funding was at the levels agreed upon?" "I don’t think things would be this bleak if the state contributed what it said it would.” Ptacek said the bill isn’t necessarily needed during the June board meeting. “If the state just gave districts what they say they are going to get, if they paid GSA and categorical payments, I don’t see many districts having the financial problems they are having,” Ptacek said.
Jacksonville Journal Courier, July 5, 2017
SENATE BILL 1 STALEMATE; FISCAL CRISIS CONTINUES Drafters of the budget package inserted language that ties release of billions of dollars for K-12 education to enactment of a school-funding overhaul [SB 1] that Rauner has called a “bailout” for Chicago’s cash-strapped school system. The House and Senate have passed the funding revamp, but Rauner has threatened to veto it. If Republicans and Democrats do not reconcile their differences before the first state payment goes to schools in August, about a dozen financially struggling public school systems might not open for classes next month.... Moody’s Investors Service issued a warning on Wednesday that even if the House follows identical Senate action Monday and overrides Rauner’s vetoes, the nation’s fifth-largest state risks a credit rating downgrade to junk because of unaddressed fiscal woes. Moody's said the budget plan falls short of adequately addressing pensions and the backlog of unpaid bills. "It's not clear to me that they won't quickly find themselves with a comparable backlog and more long-term bonded debt," said Moody's analyst Ted Hampton. Laurence Msall, president of the Civic Federation, a Chicago-based government finance watchdog, said the bill does not provide stability. “What rating agencies are pointing to, even with the tax increase if the General Assembly overrides the governor and with the spending plan as approved, the state still has severe financial challenges going forward,” he said. Reuters, July 6, 2017
NEA no photo-op with Devos/Trump
I will not allow the National Education Association to be used by Donald Trump or Betsy DeVos.
I do not trust their motives. I do not believe their alternative facts. I see no reason to assume they will do what is best for our students and their families.
There will be no photo-op! We stand between a profiteer and his profits. We have a president who resides at the dangerous intersection of arrogance and ignorance and travels with a moral compass that always points to his own self-interest. We have already seen some of Devos answers. She has made it clear that the Education Department under her leadership will pursue the most egregious school privatization agenda in the form of charter school and voucher expansion, and will not protect our most vulnerable students.
NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia
GUV: INCLUDE VOUCHERS, CUT MANDATES, CPS IN SB 1
As his price for signing Senate Bill 1, the Governor wants to add school vouchers (in the form of tax credits) for private and religious schools, cut mandates for schools,
and cut back on funding for the Chicago Public Schools.
TAKE ACTION TO SAVE SPECIAL ED IN ILLINOIS
PLEASE urge your State Representative to SUPPORT the Compromise Amendment on SPECIAL EDUCATION FUNDING to Senate Bill 1.
(SB 1 has been held by the State Senate on a Motion to Reconsider, and is now expected to be Amended.) The Amendment would require Chicago, CPS, to spend State funds to hire special education teachers (as is now required in every other school district in Illinois).
Two people have already called and been given INCORRECT information. If you are told that Senate Bill 1 in on the Governor's Desk or that SB 1 is on the way to the Governor, ask the person to check the status of SB 1.
Changes are now being NEGOTIATED to Senate Bill 1 (SB 1 has been held by the Senate and changes are now being negotiated).
I was just in Springfield and witnessed that negotiation.
PLEASE urge your State Representative to support the Compromise Amendment on special education funding to Senate Bill 1.
AMENDMENT TO SB 1 Compromise on special education funding
As it now reads, SB 1 would fund special education based on one (1) position for each 141 GENERAL education students.
COMPROMISE: (1) Distribute all NEW money through the 4 tiers, but retain the direct tie to special education teachers (retain Special Education Personnel Reimbursement and restore it for Chicago - CPS)
(2) Then as new money is appropriated, Tier 1 schools would eventually receive $10,000 or $12,000 or $14,000 for each special ed teacher, while Tier 4 schools would remain very close to the current $9,000 per teacher per year.
(1) Illinois would continue to direct State funds to the most critical school person for the education of students with disabilities: the specially trained special education teacher.
(2) The percentage of students in special education varies tremendously by school district as the causes of disability are much more prevalent in some school districts.
(3) In some other cases, a school district has had parents move to that district because it offers more comprehensive special ed services, so the district has a higher percentage
of students in special education.
(4) It is unfair and unproductive to pretend that each school district has exactly the same percentage of students with disabilities (one position for 141 general education students).
The January, 2017, Better Government Association
study found that African-American and Hispanic students are UNDER-identified for special education in Chicago compared to White students.
Two recent National studies by Dr. Paul Morgan say the same thing. Part of the problem is that some schools in Chicago are so afraid of being called racist that they are NOT identifying African-American and Hispanic students for special education. This amendment would provide an incentive to correct this situation.
SB 1: EVERY SCHOOL LIKE CHICAGO, MOE MADE MEANINGLESS
How will school districts fare on special ed under SB 1?
Just as Chicago (CPS) now does. NO dedicated funds for special ed teachers. NO dedicated funds for special ed Summer School. SB 1 could correct (there STILL may be CHANGES made to SB 1) the special ed problems in CPS.
Instead SB 1, as it now reads, extends the CPS special ed problems to all of Illinois.
SB 1 defines special ed as Section 14-1.08 of Illinois law (the school code) which allows spending on almost anything ("maintenance", "administrators", "consultants", etc.) does NOT REQUIRE spending on special ed teachers, and does NOT EVEN MENTION special ed Summer School (also does NOT mention IDEA, or spending per a child's IEP).
Under SB 1, Maintenance of Effort (MOE) for special ed is made meaningless as ANY funding received by a school district must pretend to be used ("deemed attributable") to make up for any shortage in State special ed $.
SB 1 reads: "Each fiscal year, the State Superintendent shall calculate for each Organizational Unit an amount of its Base Funding Minimum and Evidence-Based Funding that shall be deemed attributable to the provision of special educational facilities and services, as defined in Section 14-1.08 of this Code, in a manner that ensures compliance with maintenance of State financial support requirements under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. An Organizational Unit must use such funds only for the provision of special educational facilities and services, as defined in Section 14-1.08 of this Code."
Whole House hearing on SB 1, SB 1124 TODAY at 2 p.m.
Comment on Capitol Fax, June 23, 2017:
While [Governor] Rauner may like 90 percent of SB 1 (the extreme local control parts), SB 1 is a sham and a fraud.
(1) Schools have to do nothing. The 27 elements in SB 1 that are claimed to be evidence based are just for show. SB 1 requires schools to do NONE of the 27.
(2) SB 1 would cost over $6.5 Billion TODAY, which will be almost $8 Billion over 10 years.
(3) Has anyone presented a plan to increase State funding for schools by $800 million each and every year for 10 years?
(4) As two noted supporters of SB 1 have stated, the CURRENT formulas would do most of what is claimed for SB 1 IF the current formulas were funded (the foundation level has been frozen since 2008, not increased in 9 years).
(5) But using an old political ploy, some supporters of SB 1 have claimed the current formulas are “rotten”, “the worst in the nation”, and “shameful”.
(6) Those words apply to NOT providing the money, not funding the current formulas or increasing the foundation level as is supposedly required.
(7) The problem is funding, not the formulas.
But funding is extremely hard now in Illinois, so it is an easy distraction to say THE problem is the formulas AND WE ARE FIXING THEM.
SENATE BILL 1 vs. SENATE BILL 1124 vs. HOUSE BILL 4069
Gov. Rauner says he will VETO SB 1 (although it could still be CHANGED as it is being held in the Senate).
There are now 2 competing Republican bills: a new Amendment to SB 1124 and a new House bill, HB 4069 (which yesterday was assigned to Committee for a hearing).
ANYTHING (OR NOTHING) MAY HAPPEN TO CHANGE THE SCHOOL FUNDING FORMULAS. WILL YOU DO ANYTHING? In a hearing I attended yesterday, a State Representative stated that people NEEDED TO DEMAND ACTION, that NOT enough people were CONTACTING leaders and legislators.
Please urge YOUR State Senator and State Rep. to RESTORE direct and dedicated funding for special education teachers AND for special education Summer School in ANY of the 3 bills.
Supporters of Senate Bill 1 say it will cost $3.5 billion or $350 million in new money each year for 10 years.
Now one of its main supporters (Ralph Martire of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability: CTBA) states the Downstate "adequacy funding gap is $2.617 billion...
40 percent of the state's adequacy funding gap is downstate..."
Download a copy of the fact sheet HERE
If 40 percent of the state's adequacy funding gap is $2.617 Billion, the total for the State is over $6.5 Billion. (and $6.5 Billion TODAY is about $8 Billion in new money spread out over 10 years, and even more spread out over 20 years). The question is not where $350 million in new money each year will come from, but where $800 million in new money each year will come from.
SENATE BILL 1 IS THE GREATEST UNFUNDED FUNDING MANDATE EVER TO PASS THE ILLINOIS LEGISLATURE - a funding mandate that will NEVER be funded.
The CTBA headline, Potential Harm to Downstate Schools if the Governor Vetoes SB 1, is misleading at best (note that CTBA defines DOWNSTATE as all counties EXCEPT Cook, DuPage, Lake, Will, Kane or McHenry). PLUS the funding formulas shortchange many schools (such as East St. Louis), while giving extra money to other schools. Extra money to Chicago is the reason Gov. Rauner says he will veto Senate Bill 1, but unfair distribution affects all of Illinois.
Look at Figure 2. Peoria County has 1.4 percent of students (State Enrollment), but would get only 1.0 percent of New Funding. On the other hand, Vermilion County (Danville) has only .7 percent of students but would get 1.2 percent of new money.
---------- Forwarded Message ----------
Subject: CTBA RELEASES NEW FACT SHEET
Date: Tue, 20 Jun 2017 17:30:23 -0400 (EDT)
The Potential Harm to Downstate Schools
if the Governor Vetoes SB1
June 20, 2017
Governor Rauner has threatened to veto the Student Success Act, commonly known as SB1
. And if the Governor carries through on this veto threat, downstate schools will be adversely affected. New CTBA analysis finds that the "adequacy gap" between what school districts need to succeed and their actual funding levels is larger in downstate districts than in Illinois overall.
CTBA's analysis also finds that in the aggregate, downstate schools have an adequacy funding gap of -$2.617 billion, or -$3,937 per pupil. The adequacy funding gap is larger downstate ($3,937) than it is for Illinois ($3,345), thus downstate schools would be disproportionately harmed if the Governor vetoes SB1.
Download a copy of the fact sheet HERE
For more information, contact CTBA's Budget Director, Bobby Otter, at (312) 332-2151 or by email at
Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, 70 E. Lake Street, Suite 1700, Chicago, IL 60601
The Orange County (CA) Register (6/19) reports since California implemented a new public education funding system, the Local Control Funding Formula, in 2013, it has allocated about $31 billion “to schools with higher concentrations of foster youths, kids learning English and students from low-income families." Yet, a CALmatters analysis of California’s biggest school districts serving “the greatest clusters of needy children found limited success” with the new formula.
The analysis said since 2013, the achievement gap between low-income and high-income students has grown, echoing “a broader and growing concern” among civil rights
groups, researchers, and state legislators about the LCFF. Concern over the formula “has created a high-stakes confrontation with Gov. Jerry Brown, the formula’s architect,
because his goal of shifting more responsibility to the local level means the state does not track basic information, such as how much grant money each district gets for
needy students and how they spend it.”
The Learning Disabilities Association (LDA) of Illinois is urging a veto of Senate Bill 1 because of the elimination of direct and dedicated funding both for special education teachers and for summer school for students with disabilities.
Senate Bill 1 would change all of the school funding formulas in Illinois and would completely change the ways in which state money is allowed to be spent by local school districts.
"Illinois has the proud history of requiring special education, even before there was a federal law, and of tying state money directly to both special education teachers and special education summer school. Senate Bill 1 ends that tradition," states Meg Carroll, president of LDA of Illinois.
"The most critical school factor for the success of students with learning disabilities is the specially trained special education teacher. Senate Bill 1 allows previously
dedicated special education funds to be spent on anything that a school district chooses to call special education," says Carroll. "The definition of special education in SB 1 refers to an old vague part of Illinois law that does not even mention the federal special education law, IDEA, or spending money as required by the individualized educational plan, the IEP, for each student."
According to Kathleen Loftus, president-elect of LDA of Illinois, "The term learning disabilities was created in Illinois, at the University of Illinois, and Senate Bill 1, as it now reads, is a move away from providing the qualified teachers and specialized summer school so needed by students with learning disabilities."
Again, LDA of IL urges a veto of Senate Bill 1.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday delivered a gut check to thousands of charter schools advocates gathered in Washington, D.C., reminding them that when it comes to school choice they are not the only player.
"Charters' success should be celebrated, but it's equally important not to, quote, 'become the man,' Devos said at the annual conference of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
"There is no one right way to help kids learn, and just because a school educates children differently than you might propose to does not make them the enemy," she said, making a veiled reference to the growing fracture in the school choice community largely driven by the Trump administration's education agenda, which includes both public and private school choice.
"Let's applaud and encourage others who serve students well," DeVos said. "It's a both-and situation, not an either-or."
The three-day conference in the nation's capital convened charter school advocates of all persuasions, including those who support private school choice and those who do not – two camps whose philosophical divide has recently grown
in large part due to proposals in the president's budget request
She continued: "No one has a monopoly on innovation. No one has a monopoly on creativity. No one has a monopoly on knowing how every child learns."
But, as DeVos has done in past speeches, she used the opportunity to tout the administration's private school choice agenda without providing details about what, exactly, that looks likes.
"We must recognize that charters aren't the right fit for every child," she said. "For many children, neither a traditional nor a charter public school works for them."
She continued: "Charters are not the one cure-all to the ills that beset education.
"I suggest we focus less on what word comes before 'school' – whether it be traditional, charter, virtual, magnet, home, parochial, private or any approach yet to be developed and focus instead on the individuals they are intended to serve."
Some conference attendees lamented the fact that DeVos did not more specifically address concerns about quality and accountability, particularly when it comes to how the administration would ensure that taxpayer dollars for a federal private school choice program are used effectively.
"She keeps talking about giving parents more choices, but you have to have accountability," Meadows says – something she said she believes would be difficult to execute with a voucher or tax credit scholarship program that allows students to attend private schools.
When asked about this specific issue during the interview portion of her presentation, DeVos said simply: "It's a robust discussion and I'm happy to be part of the discussion about how to meet the needs of students today. Again, our focus should be not on choice for choice's sake, but choice because parents are demanding something different for their child."
Another big criticism of the speech was that the secretary did not more clearly address the widespread opposition within the education community regarding the administration's budget request, which would slash $9 billion in education spending.
"She was very broad and didn't provide many policy details," says Mihir Garud, a teacher at Chicago's Instituto of Health Sciences Career Academy, which enrolls a large proportion of low-income Latino students.
Garud says he wished DeVos had given a better response as to why the administration is proposing to eliminate dozens of programs, including $2.4 billion that provides teacher preparation.
"My big concern with this administration is that I don't think they see education as a public good," Garud says.
DeVos only momentarily addressed the president's budget request.
"While some of you have criticized the president's budget – which you have every right to do – it's important to remember that our budget proposal supports the greatest expansion of public school choice in the history of the United States," she said.
"It significantly increases support for the Charter School Program and adds an additional $1 billion for public school choice for states that choose to adopt it."
Indeed, the administration's budget request included a $168 million boost for charter schools, as well as a $1 billion increase for Title I for school districts that allow the money to follow students to the public school of their choice, which charters could benefit from.
The budget also included $250 million for a private school choice program, which in addition to a forthcoming tax credit scholarship proposal, has many charter school advocates concerned
that the Education Department would not be able to hold private schools accountable for student outcomes.
But the secretary was steadfast in her message that charter schools are not a silver bullet when it comes to school choice.
The public debate on Senate Bill 1 is almost all about Chicago.
Is Chicago getting more money than it deserves, or is Chicago just getting the money it truly needs?
There are 3 subjects:
(1) How did CPS at the last minute move from Tier 2 to Tier 1 in SB 1 (50 percent of all NEW money goes to Tier 1 schools);
(2) Why is Chicago getting $250 million when the Chicago Block Grants are eliminated in SB 1?
(3) On Pensions, why is Chicago getting a new payment of $215 million, and is getting special treatment in the formula on how Pension debt is treated? (very complicated, but explained
CAPITOL FAX COMMENTS OF JUNE 13 ON (1): After 5 Senate Amendments to SB 1, and 1 other House Amendment, in House Floor Amendment 2 (which went directly to the House Floor), Chicago Public Schools finally went from Tier 2 to Tier 1 (the poorest schools getting 50% of all NEW funding). Also, in House Amendment 1 to SB 1 (when Chicago was in Tier 2), 10% more money was shifted into Tier 2; and in Amendment 2 that 10% was shifted back to Tier 1 (when Chicago was in Tier 1).
CHICAGO BLOCK GRANT HISTORY (2):
Associated Press, June 12, 2017
Under current law, school districts outside of Chicago get reimbursed for special "categories" such as bus transportation and special education. In 1995, Republican lawmakers changed state statute to give Chicago a set percentage of that "categorical" funding. That amount is now greater overall than what CPS spends annually on those categories. This year, the difference was roughly $250 million. The legislation [SB 1] makes those dollars part of CPS's guaranteed base funding.
Republicans say that money should be redistributed through the formula, particularly when the legislation provides a new check to pay the employer's portion of the annual costs incurred for teacher pensions, which amount to about $215 million this year. They argue the difference would provide enough dollars to fully fund all districts' categorical expenses for the first time in years.
Below is the ISBE evaluation of the Chicago Block Grant for 2011-2012. That year is included because even then Chicago was receiving over $21 Million for Personnel that it was NOT spending on Personnel (NOT spending on special ed teachers and others): Chicago did NOT have enough special ed teachers (and others) to justify receiving the State money. Because of this lack of special ed teachers, any other school district in Illinois would NOT have received this over $21 million. Note the percentage (below) of Special Ed Personnel that Chicago receives (19.1) is almost exactly the percentage of Illinois students that Chicago has. So Chicago SHOULD be hiring at least that number of special ed teachers (if not more because one would expect a higher incidence of disability in Chicago due to concentrated poverty, stress of violence, rate of pre-mature births, etc.).
The percentages below (for example, 50.7% to CPS) were fixed
in 1995 AND HAVE NOT CHANGED SINCE THEN.
The extra amount below ($4,182,306 extra) is how much additional money Chicago received in excess of what it should have received according to the formulas in law (extra money that no other school district received).
The final percentage below (45.7% excess) range from -0- to over 6 times as much (Private Tuition) to 30 times more (Regular and Vocational Transportation) than Chicago
should have received.
The 2011-12 Total below (over $234 million) is now $250 million.
Educational Services Block Grant
Free Lunch/Breakfast - State (50.7% to CPS), $4,182,306 extra, 45.7% excess
ROE/ISC - Services (Operations) (14.9% to CPS), -0- extra, 0% excess
Sp Ed - Funding for Children Requiring Sp Ed [the old Extraordinary] (29.2% to CPS), $29,840,246 extra, 42.4% excess
Sp Ed - Orphanage 7.03 (35.8% to CPS), $30,317,124 extra, 497.7% excess
Sp Ed - Personnel (19.1% to CPS), $21,111,295 extra, 33.5% excess
Sp Ed - Private Tuition (48.4% to CPS), $86,176,559 extra, 618.4% excess
Sp Ed - Summer School (54.4% to CPS), $3,457,295 extra, 131.2% excess
Sp Ed - Transportation (30.7% to CPS), $51,876,114 extra, 62.2% excess
Transportation - Reg & Voc (3.9% to CPS), $7,825,927 extra, 3,901.8% excess
Total: $234,786,866 extra to CPS, 94.3% more than it should have received
CAPITOL FAX COMMENTS OF JUNE 13 ON (3) CHICAGO PENSIONS
Artificially lowering the Local Capacity Target (by subtracting the pension legacy cost) will decrease their local revenue, dropping CPS into Tier 1 and moving them up in line for new State aid. Add to that the fact that the local contribution required by CPS is already much lower than other school districts because, compared to the rest of the state, Chicago is under-taxed. The effective tax rate for a homeowner in the City of Chicago is 1.71%, far below tax rates in other school districts. What’s even more off-putting is that this $500 million windfall will continue to grow over the years as the pension payments ramp up and will continue to drive down its Local Capacity Target. Finally, the bill provides for the use of PTELL EAVs under certain conditions. This provision lowers the local contribution required by the City of Chicago by billions of dollars. As property values continue to grow, use of the PTELL EAV will continue to drive down the amount of funding the City of Chicago should be contributing locally to its schools.
It is interesting that nobody is discussing what the impact to future statewide education funding will be as the unfunded pension costs for CPS continues to grow.
According to the CPS website the total pension payments will grow to $830 million by 2021. The $500 million dollar “pension credit” for this year was the primary reason that the adequacy target for CPS was lowered from 74% adequacy to 62% in the last ISBE model and moved them into tier 1. How much more will their adequacy target decrease by each year from this change?
Solutions like the State picking up the normal pension costs and allowing Chicago to reinstate the pension levy will help pay those costs without impacting CPS classrooms or statewide education funding. Do we really want to include the unfunded pension costs for CPS directly in the funding formula or should Chicago, CPS and the State continue to look for other ways to pay for them outside of the formula?
Associated Press, June 12, 2017
The GOP also contends allowing CPS to keep that money in addition to a pension subsidy gives the district an immediate boost in available funds, while others, some in worse financial straits, only gain based on how much lawmakers decide to put through the formula.
That's an uncertain prospect given Illinois' fiscal morass. "They're getting those dollars baked in to their formula where they can't be taken away," said Bloomington Republican Sen. Jason Barickman, who sponsored his own version of the model this session. "Every other school district is left to rely on the budgeting process for funding."
The proposal's widespread coalition of supporters counters that ensuring no district loses money also means maintaining current funds for Chicago, where the majority of students are racial minorities and about one-third of Illinois' low-income students attend school. "Everyone begins in the new system where they left off in the old system," said Manar, who has spearheaded efforts to change Illinois' funding model since 2013. "That means we have to account for all of the good and all of the bad and put that in the base funding."
Republicans have also criticized a provision in the bill that says dollars CPS pays toward past pension debt wouldn't be counted as part of the district's available local funds. The more local resources a school district has, the less a district can benefit from the new formula. Rauner's administration has said taxpayers shouldn't be on the hook for years of Chicago's skipped pension payments. [Mayor Daley made ZERO payments to the CPS pension fund for 10 years] But Democrats point out the state pays nearly $4 billion dollars in total pension costs for other districts — an expense expected to grow by more than $660 million next year, according to the Illinois Teacher's Retirement System.
Why is it impossible to get real figures on how much each school district will receive next school year if Senate Bill 1 is signed by Governor Rauner?
Most important reason: SB 1 contains NO MONEY for schools. It will take SEPARATE appropriation legislation to actually fund the school formulas in Senate Bill 1. Nevertheless, supporters of SB 1 are distributing EXACT figures on how much each school district will receive.
These exact figures ASSUME $350 Million in NEW money will be appropriated in a separate bill. But even then these figures are just GUESSES based on a State Board of Education (ISBE) evaluation https://www.isbe.net/Pages/Education-Funding-Proposals.aspx
that has all THE FOLLOWING PROBLEMS -
What is wrong with the ISBE evaluation of SB 1?
(1) It is for House Amendment 1, NOT for House Amendment 2 to SB 1 (which is what passed the House and Senate).
(2) It is for Fiscal Year 17 (last school year), NOT for FY 18 (next school year).
(3) It ASSUMES $350 Million in NEW money.
(4) Under the first tab (Assumptions) it states -
“The Evidence Based Model is quite different from any funding proposal that has been prepared to date. “As such data required for this proposal have not
necessarily been available.”
Please read ALL of the Assumptions listed - “assumptions that have had to been made”
CONCLUSION: Schools are being told they will get specific amounts of money if Rauner signs SB 1 into law, DESPITE the fact that SB 1 contains NO money, and NO ONE has
done an evaluation of the ACTUAL legislation, the needed DATA does not exist, the current ISBE evaluation is of a PREVIOUS amendment, and that evaluation has
to make all sorts of GUESSES (Assumptions) including that $350 Million will be appropriated in another bill.
90 PERCENT OF SENATE BILL 1 A VICTORY FOR RAUNER
In 1995, when Republicans were in control in Springfield, school funds for Chicago, and only for Chicago, were put into 2 big Block Grants (and the Mayor of Chicago
was given control of Chicago schools).
Now Senate Bill 1 would make ALL Illinois school districts even worse than Chicago: put funding into one huge Block Grant and let each school district spend it as they please (with minor restrictions for special ed and ELL).
"The Governor supports 90 percent of the education funding reform bill that was passed by the legislature this spring, but would still veto it because it is too
generous to Chicago Public Schools" says the June 12 Springfield State Journal-Register. Even the sponsor of SB 1, State Sen. Andy Manar, agrees: "Most rational people would take 90 percent and call it a win." Why are Democrats, who absolutely control both the Illinois House and the Illinois Senate, supporting a 90 percent Republican plan?
(1) The original Manar plan (take money from rich school districts and give it to poor school districts) passed the Senate but was given no real consideration in the House.
(2) All sorts of groups are supporting SB 1, because it seemingly will give 99 percent of NEW funds to poorer school districts, because it is so immensely complicated (seeming to require small class sizes, etc., but actually NOT requiring schools to do anything), because of the demonization of the CURRENT school funding formulas (anything must be better) although experts say IF the CURRENT formulas were funded (max funding for the poorest schools has been FROZEN since 2008) they
would take care of the problem, etc.
(3) Passing SB 1 is a great distraction from the REAL PROBLEM: lack of funding increases for education.
(4) Almost all legislators look just at how much each of their schools would receive, NO school would lose money under SB 1, and the print-outs each legislator received are based on $350 million in NEW money that has to be passed in ANOTHER bill (and the print-outs are GUESSES by ISBE (for last school year, NOT next school year) which states it lacks the DATA needed).
(5) The other 10 percent of SB 1 gives more money to Chicago, and the House and Senate Leaders are from Chicago.
4 FALSE CLAIMS ABOUT SENATE BILL 1
(1) SB 1 makes school funding simpler and is certain to improve schools. FACT: The sponsor of SB 1 says it is "incredibly complicated” and the reporter of the NPR June 9 story states
"Complicated? That's an understatement." SB 1 does NOT require schools to do anything, just the opposite. Although its 27 elements talk about smaller class size, etc.,
schools in the name of extreme local control have to do NONE of the 27 things. Page 326 of SB 1 says local schools can use the money in almost any way that they want:
"may apply those funds to ANY fund".
(2) To fund SB 1 there will have to be $3.5 Billion in NEW money. FACT: According to the Illinois Times, June 8, 2017, to fund SB 1 “would cost the state $6.2 billion” in NEW money.
$6.2 billion TODAY spread over 10 years would be near $8 billion. Does anyone think we will increase PK-12 funding by $800 million EACH YEAR for the next 10 years?
(3) Advance Illinois Letter in Chicago Tribune stating it takes "into consideration local factors like the number of... students with disabilities." (June 8) NO, SB 1 funds special ed based on the number of GENERAL education students, NOT the number of students with disabilities. (except for Pre-K)
(4) Comment by a School Superintendent on Capitol Fax: "the 1-141 ratio is a lie". (June 8) On page 352, SB 1 states "Special education investments.... one FTE teacher position for every 141 combined ASE [school enrollment] of pre-kindergarten children with disabilities and all kindergarten through grade 12 students". So for Pre-Kindergarten, one position for 141 children with disabilties, and for K to 12, one position for 141 GENERAL education students (all students).
3 TRUE CLAIMS ABOUT SENATE BILL 1
(1) Direct and dedicated funding for both Summer School for special ed students AND for special ed teachers is ELIMINATED. (pages 254 and 281 of SB 1)
(2) The fewer special ed teachers the more GENERAL education teachers will be expected to do it all - to teach children that a specially trained special ed teacher should be teaching.
(3) SB 1 states funds PREVIOUSLY spent on Summer School for students in special ed AND for hiring special education teachers (and others) "must be used for special education services under this code".
In another section, SB 1 states "must use such funds only for the provision of special education facilities and services, as defined in Section 14-1.08 of this Code".
PLEASE READ 14-1.08. It is extremely vague. It does NOT mention the Federal special education law (IDEA); it does NOT mention the IEP (it does NOT require spending
per the IEP), and it does NOT require ANY spending on special education teachers (or on Summer School).
At one time the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) welcomed all viewpoints of CEC Members, but was opposed to anyone against public education. I know because I have been a PAN (now CAN) rep for 2 different Divisions and Illinois for a total of more than 30 years.
I also served as Chair of the CEC Advocacy and Governmental Relations Committee (which no longer exists) for 3 years with Fred Weintraub as the CEC staff person. NOW CEC rejects and refuses to accept some CEC Members as CAN representatives if "your ideas differ" from what
is deemed the CEC line.
How did CEC legislative activity and positions come to be so tied to those of special ed administrators (CASE)? (see the first day and a half of the 2017 CEC (and CASE) legislative training below) And who is invited to be the Keynote: None other than BETSY DEVOS. Why would CEC provide a platform for such propaganda?
If anyone reading this could explain how such an address could change the mind of an ideologue like Betsy DeVos, please do that.
Welcome & Opening Session - Mikki Garcia (CEC) & Gary Myrah (CASE) Advocacy Strategies for Capitol Hill Visits - Myrna Mandlawitz (CASE)
Review SELS Agenda and Strategies for State Teams - Deb Ziegler (CEC) & Erin Maguire (CASE) Introduce Legislative Talking Points - Deb Ziegler (CEC) & Erin Maguire (CASE) Strategies and Logistics for Capitol Hill Visits - Deb Ziegler (CEC) & Erin Maguire (CASE)
Greetings - Alex Graham (CEC) & Luann Purcell (CASE) Keynote - U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos (invited)
FALSE claims about Senate Bill 1:
(1) Advance Illinois Letter in Chicago Tribune (June 8) stating it takes "into consideration local factors like the number of...students with disabilities."
NO, SB 1 funds special ed based on the number of GENERAL education students, NOT the number of students with disabilities (except for Pre-K).
(2) Comment by a School Superintendent on Capitol Fax: "the 1-141 ratio is a lie". (June 8) On page 352, SB 1 states "Special education investments....
one FTE teacher position for every 141 combined ASE [school enrollment] of pre-kindergarten children with disabilities and all kindergarten through grade 12 students".
So for Pre-Kindergarten, one position for 141 children with, disabilities and for K to 12, one position for 141 GENERAL education students (all students).
(3) To fund SB 1 there will have to be $3.5 Billion in NEW money. According to the Illinois Times, June 8, 2017, to fund SB 1 “would cost the state $6.2 billion”
in NEW money. $6.2 billion TODAY spread over 10 years would be near $8 billion. Does anyone think we will increase PK-12 funding by $800 million EACH YEAR for the next 10 years?
Despite what its supporters say, Senate Bill 1 contains ZERO money for schools, and ZERO money for property tax relief. It will take another bill, an appropriation bill, to give money
SB 1 says if no NEW money is appropriated, if Illinois in a separate appropriation bill gives schools the same amount of money next school year as it gave this school year, then each school district would get the same money next school year as this school year. (and schools are NOT getting all the money this school year because the State does NOT have the money)
Senate Bill 1 includes a new provision to provide SOME schools with SOME property tax relief, ONLY IF MONEY IS APPROPRIATED SPECIFICALLY FOR THAT PURPOSE.
From information being distributed by State Senators and State Representatives you would think NEW money for schools was in Senate Bill 1. Below find an excerpt from a blog similar to many promoting SB 1.http://senatornapoleonharris.com/news/132-harris-south-suburban-communities-would-benefit-greatly-under-new-education-funding-formula
One of many others at -http://senatormelindabush.com/news/press-releases/250-bush-supports-fair-school-funding-property-tax-relief-for-lake-county-school-districts
WHAT IS MISSING? The statement that an ADDITIONAL $200 Million would have to be found in State money to fund Property Tax Relief.
The original source states -
***Estimate by Advance Illinois and assume a $200M Property Tax Relief Fund
ALSO MISSING? Senate Bill 1 is just about formulas, about how money will be distributed IF NEW MONEY IS FOUND.
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:
- Bremen Community High School District 228 - $3.9 million
- Brookwood School District 167 - $1 million
- Crete Monee Community Unit School District 201U - $3 million
- Dolton School District 14 - $1.1 million
- Ford Heights School District 169 – $228,369
- Hazel Crest School District 152-5 – $681,918
- Homewood School District 153 - $2 million
- South Holland School District 150 - $224,619
- South Holland School District 151 - $1.4 million
- Steger School District 194 - $224,619
- Thornton Township High School District 205 - $3.8 million
- West Harvey-Dixmoor Public School District 147 - $488,309
To review the Funding Illinois’ Future analysis, visit fundingilfuture.org.
[Some Republicans have in the past advocated closing government. Who knows what would happen if schools close? Some may never re-open. There may be more of a push for charters or vouchers. BEWARE OF FORCING A CRISIS CREATING CHAOS WHERE ALMOST ANYTHING COULD HAPPEN. BHJ]
"We have to create a crisis. And it is going to be a crisis,” he said. “I don't want the schools not to open. But we've tried everything else."
Rep. Bob Pritchard, a Republican state rep from Hinckley, serves on five different education committees, and was on Gov. Bruce Rauner's school funding reform commission. You could say education is one of his key issues. But on the state's 700th day without a budget, he called on schools to close.
Pritchard helped develop the school funding plan
(he was chief co-sponsor of the major school funding initiative that passed the House), but when it came time to vote, he didn’t.
Republicans called the plan a Chicago bailout, and most voted no. Illinois lawmakers last week approved a sweeping overhaul of the way the state funds public schools. Mainly Democrats supported the plan, but the top Republican co-sponsor chose not to vote at all. http://peoriapublicradio.org/post/pritchard-calls-schools-close#stream/0
School funding equity loses out to Chicago greed
June 4, 2017
Daily Herald Editorial
It is easy to get lost in the big picture of frustrations over the state legislature's inability yet again to produce a budget. But doing so obscures a lot of meaningful little pictures that also are a part of Springfield's mosaic of many failures. One of those little issues that is actually a huge one is school funding reform. The Illinois Senate moved on that monumental question this session, but with such a transparently cynical move to turn it into an unjustified windfall for Chicago that it is sure to be vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner. Chicago Democrats used the issue as a means to maneuver a bailout of the mismanaged Chicago Public Schools system that for years has wildly overspent while over promising its powerful unions.
Unfortunately, many Democratic legislators from the suburbs shamefully went along. There can be no doubt that there is indeed disparity in the resources schools throughout Illinois have to educate the state's children and future workforce. There is little doubt also that financial resources play a large part in student performance. It's not the only factor, but it's a significant one. And our Generations at Risk series two years ago demonstrated how powerfully interwoven income levels are with academic achievement.
So while there admittedly is much at stake in the school funding debate and we in the suburbs have cause for some anxiety that educational opportunity not be diminished in affluent areas here, we recognize the legitimate problem resource disparity presents. Every child deserves an opportunity to benefit from a good education. And when a child is undereducated, it is not just the child who suffers; all of us suffer because we're all a part of the same society.
There's much more to say about that, but for now, let us just say that it's not just stuffed-shirt opinion writers recognizing this. Suburban legislators have shown a growing resolve to address the funding challenge, too. Support for the recommendations of the Governor's School Funding Reform Commission is widespread.
But what lacks principled support is the blatant political money grab of Senate Bill 1, which would reform school funding all right, but would do so purely to reward the Chicago Public Schools system for its mismanagement. Seven out of every 10 dollars created in that "reform" would go to those schools. There would be little left to increase equity for the state's many other under-resourced school systems. No wonder downstate Illinois views Chicago with anathema. School funding reform is needed in Illinois. But it needs to be real reform and it needs to be fair. We heartily await the governor's veto.
[The Governor wants at least a 4 year property tax freeze, or a permanent property tax freeze, for ALL school districts, including Chicago, unless local
voters pass a referendum to allow increases.] School districts fear impact from a freeze on taxes
Jacksonville Journal Courier, June 5, 2017
A state Senate bill that would freeze property taxes for two years has some school administrators wondering where they could make cuts or find new revenue to cover any resulting funding losses. Property taxes make up a large portion of funding sources for school districts, which propose a levy each year to help cover the cost of education.
Senate Bill 484 would freeze tax levies for all school districts except Chicago, but allow financially strapped school districts to appeal to the state for a waiver. A school district seeking a waiver would have to meet certain conditions, such as losing 10 percent of its equalized assessed value in one year or having more than half of its students in poverty.
Some districts are wondering where they would find the revenue to cover any increases without being able to increase the yearly assessments.
The school funding mess in Illinois is a result of bi-partisan mendacity, which is another way of saying elected officials lie whenever they talk about education funding." (Sun-Times, 6/2/17) "The state can't equalize anything paying just 26%. "The structure of the formula didn't cause the problem. "Failure to fund the formula as it was intended to be funded,
that's what caused the problem and nothing else." (ISNS, April 27, 2017)
"In truth, our CURRENT funding formula would likely be meeting most needs if it was properly funded.... "NO FORMULA will work properly with that track record of underfunding." (lobbyist for the Illinois Association of School Boards)
Senate Bill 1, which would cost up to $8 Billion in NEW State funds to really do the 27 things it says schools should do, will never be fully funded. (And to fund a property tax freeze would cost $10 Billion more)
A property tax freeze would TAKE AWAY from schools more money than any possible increase in State funding of schools.
Phil Kadner in the Chicago Sun-Times states - Governors and state legislators have been screaming about high property taxes in this state for 30 years....
Property taxes are high because the state has failed to fulfill its constitutional mandate to fund public education. [The Illinois Constitution states] The State has the primary
responsibility for financing the system of public education. Since state lawmakers have deliberately failed to adequately fund education, as directed by the Constitution, property
taxpayers must pick up 67 percent of the cost.
SB 1: SPEND $ ANY WAY YOU WANT TO SPEND THEM
"Many of your Superintendents love everything we're doing," said State Rep. Will Davis just befores the House vote.
Because page 326 of SB 1 says schools can spend "any funding" on "any fund": COMPLETE FREEDOM TO SPEND BILLIONS OF DOLLARS of State funding.
Even for special education, funding for Summer School AND for special education teachers is ELIMINATED and those funds "must be used for special education
SERVICES authorized under this code" (p. 254, 281)
With NO State budget (no money to fund SB 1 which passed the House with the bare minimum number of votes - 60) and no mandatory property tax relief,
will Governor Rauner follow through on his threat and veto SB 1 because he claims it is a Bailout for Chicago schools (CPS)? We may not know for some time as, after SB 1 passed the Senate, a Motion was filed to hold Senate Bill 1 indefinitely: Motion Filed to Reconsider Vote.
SCHOOL MANDATE RELIEF HELD IN COMMITTEE The attempt to reduce/eliminate school mandates, HB 1259 and HB 1261, remains stalled. The IEA states about HB 1261 -
It is our contention that this may apply to, among other things, student services (caseloads and the provision of special education services)....
SB 1 DEBATE LIMITED, ENTIRELY ON CHICAGO The House strictly limited debate on SB 1 (cutting off microphones, limiting speakers to about 30 minutes of actual debate, refusing the request to allow more debate). This may have been because they had only the absolute minimum number of votes and could not risk losing a vote.
The debate in both the House and Senate was about CPS. (1) Would it take $750 Million in NEW money (rather than $350 Million) to give the money promised to schools
because an extra $400 Million was added to the Base Funding Minimum at the last minute just for Chicago? (2) Would some very poor school districts (such as East St. Louis) be cheated compared to CPS: $237 per student versus $1,333 per student OR would 268 school districts receive more money per student than Chicago would receive? [BOTH may be true as there are 852 school districts in Illinois]
WHERE IS THE MONEY?
All of this means nothing without a State Budget. The House will be holding hearings across the State, beginning June 8 in Chicago.
Will Illinois increase taxes? Which taxes and by how much? Will tax increases be retroactive to January 1, as passed by the Senate?
Will Illinois pass a huge bond (borrow money) to pay part of the $14 Billion in unpaid State bills?