Why is IDEA under the greatest threat it has ever had?
1. Some special education groups want to reauthorize IDEA.
2. Given this Congress, this U.S. Secretary of Education, and this President, any reauthorization of IDEA would effectively abolish it.
Some believe that education (schools) are able to prevent almost all disabilities, thru RTI/MTSS and Pay for Success early intervention (Goldman Sachs loans that are repaid
based on every child NOT placed in special education.) Some vocal people and groups believe almost every child with a disability (which they now call a difference, not a disability)
must be in the general education classroom full-time, taught by a general education teacher who is supposedly trained to teach each and every student no matter how many students
are in her classroom with extremely varied and complex disabilities.
1. In Georgia a class action special education case is attempting to be brought under ADA, and NOT under IDEA with its requirement for the Continuum of Alternative Placements. (The Courts have put on hold a previous attempt by the U.S. Department of Justice to sue under ADA rather than under IDEA.)
2. Illinois and other States have removed direct and dedicated State funding for special education teachers.
3. In California (which has abolished ALL State funding for special education), there is a continuing effort to change IDEA (saying it is outdated) partly because of a severe shortage
of special education teachers AND because IDEA "was written principally with children who had cognitive impairments and physical disabilities in mind, but currently large numbers of children in special education have learning disabilities"
Remember there was a previous recommendation in California to abolish teacher certification in special ed.
CPS Secret Special Ed Cuts
Long, detailed story. Illinois just changed its funding system for special ed saying all schools should have the freedom Chicago has had on special ed. BHJ
After Julie Rodriguez enrolled her 10-year-old autistic son at a public school on Chicago’s Southwest Side last year, she found herself navigating a maze of paperwork that she said seemed designed to prevent her son from getting the special education services he needed. Rodriguez had just moved to the city from the suburbs, and she brought with her a legally binding special education plan for her son from his suburban public school. She also had a thick binder detailing his behavioral and academic problems, including a detailed analysis from some of the most highly respected doctors in Chicago.
In addition to autism, he suffers from attention deficit disorder, speech delays, and oppositional behavior disorder. But it took six disastrous weeks for Chicago Public Schools and the staff at Peck Elementary to determine what she already knew — that her son needed an aide by his side all the time and a laundry list of other services. “The security guards were calling me every day,” Rodriguez said of that six-week period. “They have a police officer on staff — that person was calling me. ... Everybody had all these complaints. And I am like, ‘He needs all of these other services that he is not getting.’”
Little did she know that she came to Chicago just as the school system was attempting a major overhaul of its special education program, which serves more than 52,000 students and consumes about $900 million of CPS’ $5.7 billion operating budget each year. A WBEZ investigation into that 2016 overhaul found officials relied on a set of guidelines — developed behind closed doors and initially kept secret — that resulted in limiting services for special education students, services like busing, one-on-one aides, and summer school.
This overhaul was orchestrated by outside auditors with deep ties to CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. They had no expertise in special education. In addition to interviews with parents of special-needs children, WBEZ analyzed school financial records and discovered a pattern where students did not receive services last year that they had previously counted on, raising questions about whether the rules violated federal laws aimed at protecting special-needs children. For example, the time children spent with specialists dropped by about 12 percent last year, WBEZ found.
At the same time CPS revamped special education services, it also changed the way it funded the program, making it impossible for even the most veteran expert to figure out where the school district was cutting back and by how much. Back then, Claypool insisted he was not cutting special education, but now officials admit they budgeted substantially less and spent less....
Rauners education advisor Beth Purvis is leaving. Please read this blog
Rauner's education czar Beth Purvis is departing.
Gov. Bruce Raunerâ€™s education czar Beth Purvis will leave her post on Friday. Purvis will join an unnamed national nonprofit where she will oversee educational philanthropy.
Purvis previously ran a network of charter schools, and was hired by Rauner on a yearly contract of $250,000. Readers may recall that her salary came from a fund that supplied resources for students with Autism.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times under the Freedom of Information Act show that one of the highest-paid state employees hired under Rauner isnâ€™t making a dent in the governorâ€™s office budget.
In March, Rauner tapped Beth Purvis, a former charter school director, as his education secretary at an annual salary of $250,000.
At the time it was the highest-paid position in the governorâ€™s cabinet.
But her contract, signed March 13, indicates that sheâ€™s being paid out of the Department of Human Services, even as it indicates she will â€œreport directly to the governorâ€™s chief of staff or designee.â€
Three weeks after Purvisâ€™ contract was signed, the governorâ€™s office announced that the Department of Human Services was strapped for cash, and sliced $26 million in services including for autism, epilepsy and burials for the indigent. The cuts, later known as â€œthe Good Friday Massacre,â€ caused some programs to completely shut down. The cuts caused a furor, prompting House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, to call a public hearing on why it happened after Democrats said they believed a budget deal with the governor protected such services.
The Department of Human Services in its mission statement says it aims to serve â€œthose who are striving to move from welfare to work and economic independence, and others who face multiple challenges to self-sufficiency.â€
Once Beth leaves on Friday with the kids with Autism get their money back?
Illinois school vouchers
The New Illinois Voucher Program - A terrible idea cloaked in helping poor families
On August 31, 2017, Governor Rauner signed into law SB 1947, which provided needed funding for Illinois school districts, but also included a new tax credit program to fund vouchers for public school students to attend private schools of their choosing. The new voucher program provides:
1) Illinois residents may donate money to an approved not-for-profit organization to fund scholarships for Illinois school children to attend private schools in Illinois.
2) The taxpayer can donate the money to any approved scholarship organization, with no requirements that the scholarships be awarded in a non-discriminatory manner, based on race, religion, gender or otherwise. The only limitation is that the scholarship organization cannot operate or be governed by employees of the private school receiving the scholarship.
In other words, a tax payer could donate the money to religious group A and as long as Religious group A did not run the school the student attends, they could limit the scholarships to students of that religion to attend a religious school of that denomination.
3) The tax credits will be equal to the 75% of the amount of the donation, up to ONE MILLION DOLLARS PER TAX PAYER!!!! This is a tax break for the RICH!
4) All students from families that earn $73,000 a year or less Adjusted Gross Income (after deductions) will be eligible for scholarships from this program, but poor students will be eligible for up to 100% of the maximum scholarship amount on a sliding scale.
5) Scholarships will be capped at the state's average state-wide per pupil expenditure, which was $12,821 for the 2014-15 school year (A LOT OF MONEY) or the actual cost of tuition at the private school, which ever is less.
6) There is a provision for priority in scholarships to be given to students in "Focus" areas (including areas with low performing schools), there is no requirement that they ONLY be given to students from those areas.
7) The private schools are not governed by the protections contained in the IDEA in relation to special education, nor the protections of federal law against discrimination based on race, gender or disability unless they receive federal funds.
Further, if the school is religiously controlled, they are not governed by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The new law contains NO PROVISION barring discrimination in admissions or treatment by the private schools for students receiving the scholarship nor in the distribution of the scholarships themselves.
8) Because the funding available is determined by who makes the donations and to which organizations, the donors will be able to control the stream of money by giving it to their preferred organization.
For example, if a donor chooses to give the money to the Holy Charity and Holy Charity only gives to members of the Holy Charity Church, no one else will get the benefit of that money.
9) THIS IS NOT A SCHOLARSHIP IN THAT IT IS NOT MERIT BASED.
10) Because the program provides for a tax CREDIT, not just a deduction it could work as follows:
Consider a family making $90,000 per year. They pay $4450 in state taxes. The school costs $12,000 and they qualify for a scholarship of $6000.00 (50% of cost). Their total cost prior to the scholarship would have been 16,450 for tuition and state taxes. With the scholarship, their total cost is $10,450.
They get the benefit of the scholarship, but no benefit from the tax credit, because they don't have enough disposable income to contribute to the scholarship fund.
The taxpayers end up funding their desire to attend a private school, because the state loses the taxes that they would have paid but for the tax credit. And they face many of the same barriers to quality education that I describe below.
Now consider someone making $30,000 a year. They also get no tax benefit, but their child may qualify for the full $12,000 scholarship. That IS great for their child if there is an eligible school that is a) accessible to them, b) willing to accept their child, c) costs $12,000 or less, and actually provides a BETTER experience for their child then the public school. However, they receive NO benefit if A) Their child is not accepted to a private school because of low academic achievement, race, disability, or some other individual factor, B) their child is accepted but the private school costs more than the value of the scholarship and they can't afford to contribute the difference, C) because they live in a poor or rural area, there is NO private school that will offer an improved educational experience for their child, or D) the only private school available is religiously operated by a religion other than their own.
So the consequence of this program is that it definitely helps the wealthy by giving them a substantial tax credit (better than a tax deduction) It may benefit some middle and lower income families that are lucky enough to have a desirable and affordable private school near by. But IT DOES NOT HELP MANY OTHER FAMILIES THAT ARE UNABLE TO ACCESS THE BETTER SCHOOLS......AND THE TAXPAYERS ARE PAYING TO GIVE FAMILIES THE ABIILITY TO OPT OUT OF PUBLIC EDUCATION, WHILE WE ARE STILL PAYING THE SAME TAXES TO SUPPORT PUBLIC EDUCATION.
Of course, it also means that there will be less public money available to pay for public schools and a host of other public services, because we are funding $75,000,000 in tax credits to benefit the wealthy. THIS IS BAD PUBLIC POLICY AND IT WILL HURT THE MOST VULNERABLE!!
(Matt Cohen newsletter, Sept. 12, 2017)
CEC actions against me
What would you do?
Having failed to have me removed as a Voting member of the Illinois CEC Board, the Executive Director of CEC is now attempting to have me removed as Chair of the Professional Development Committee for Illinois CEC.
On Monday, September 11, 2017, every member of the Board of Illinois CEC received the following email -
Communications with Alex Graham, CEC Executive Director: Conflicts were initiated by Bev Johns demanding certain actions from the National CEC staff. Alex reported that the process did not go smoothly because of ongoing requests from Bev Johns.
Alex Graham contacted President Whittaker requesting help on managing Bev Johns and her endless harassment of his staff as they tried to prepare for PDU requests from Illinois attendees. Alex asked for the removal of Bev Johns from this process.
His request was based on unprofessional behaviors that she was showing toward his staff. These included: ongoing requests for more and more things that had to be done, not being clear in the end goal of how to issue PDUs and overall bullying of members of his staff.
NOTE: This endless harassment of his staff and bullying never happened. All communication was via email, and no such emails exist. How did this process begin?
According to the Official Minutes of the Illinois CEC February Board meeting, our president wanted to have an ad-hoc committee. The Official Minutes say this ad-hoc committee would have one and only one purpose: "The purpose of the committee is to preserve and protect ICEC by updating the ICEC Code of Ethics to coincide with CEC's Code of Ethics".
Sometime later the chair of this ad-hoc committee began an entirely different effort.
Then began a SECRET process on me, with NO notice to me, NO opportunity for me to provide facts, to confront the accusations, or to provide accurate information.
On June 14 a report was sent was sent to the Voting members of the Board (EXCLUDING ME although I am a Voting member), and the VERY NEXT DAY on June 15, a motion and vote were requested.
Luckily a member of the Board sent the June 14 report to me OR I WOULD HAVE KNOWN ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT THE SUPPOSED INVESTIGATION, NOTHING ABOUT THE JUNE 14 REPORT, AND NOTHING ABOUT THE VOTE.
The motion was defeated. Why this effort to have me removed as Chair of the Professional Development Committee?
On September 1, I submitted the initial Audit report required by Illinois law to the Illinois State Board of Education. (Every approved provider has to be Audited, and Illinois CEC is now being Audited.) Over the next several months, Illinois CEC has to submit several extensive reports to prove that we are complying the all aspects of the law (AND that our two approved sub-contractors, Chapter 99 and CEC Headquarters have complied with all aspects of the law and regulations).
As originally drafted, the Illinois legislation requiring Professional Development Hours did NOT include special education teacher organizations as being able to provide them. As Chair of ISELA, the Illinois Special Education Coalition, I worked closely with the House Sponsor of the legislation, and she insisted, over the initial objections of the Illinois State Board of Education, on making that addition.
After the law passed, I worked closely with JCAR (the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules) to insure that the regulations completely met the intent of the law.
Illinois CEC decided to apply to be a provider, I wrote the application, negotiated changes with ISBE, and we were approved. With the approval of the ICEC Board, I was appointed Chair of an Ad-Hoc Committee, and when our Bylaws and Policy Guide was changed, I was appointed Chair of the Professional Development Committee. "The Professional Development Committee will consist of a chairperson appointed for a minimum of three years."
My term would expire no earlier than 2019. As I briefly detailed on June 19 to the Illinois CEC Board (see below), there have been problems with the compliance of CEC Headquarters.
For Boston, I provided a step by step guide for CEC, and offered to provide on-site assistance and training, but that offer was not accepted.
I have attempted to get the needed information from CEC Headquarters. It is needed for the Audit
---------- Forwarded Message ----------
Date: Mon, 19 Jun 2017 16:12:16 GMT
ICEC Bylaws and Policy Guide -
"It is the responsibility of the Professional Development Chair to: "Work with each subcontractor to review the rules for giving credit and their responsibilities for all the necessary paperwork. "Monitor each subcontractor to ensure they are completing all the necessary forms and following the procedures."
CEC wished to be a subcontractor of Illinois CEC for St. Louis and for Boston. I worked extensively to assist CEC to complete the lengthy application required, provided on-site training in St. Louis, and attempted follow-up. There were real problems in St. Louis. Untrained temps and volunteers manned the booth, but as I was there I was able to train them in the process.
Unfortunately the person in charge at CEC took a leave and the form each person was required to fill-out after the event was NOT sent. Finally, after I contacted Alex Graham, the form was sent on the last possible day, but got a very small response. If Illinois CEC is to keep our approved provider status, this could NOT be repeated in Boston.
So this did not happen again in Boston, to fulfill my duty to "Monitor each subcontractor to ensure they are completing all the necessary forms and following the procedures" I asked to receive copies of the forms in advance. CEC did not wish to supply those, and now CEC has complained about the process to some in Illinois CEC, and blamed me. I was just doing my job in the best interest of Illinois CEC as Illinois CEC is subject to audit by the Illinois State Board of Education sometime in the next year.
Besty DeVos win in Illinois
"A critical pillar of this new education funding bill is the options it offers parents when it comes to selecting the very best education for their children. This is accomplished by ensuring district-authorized charter schools receive funding equal to that of district-managed schools and by creating a tax credit scholarship program to provide families with limited financial resources better access to private schools." Statement of Governor Rauner
Rauner said the idea had come out of his reform commission, where, he said, it had been a big topic of discussion.
According to the FIX THE FORMULA Coalition: "SB1947 includes an inseverability clause which maintains that if any portion of the law is determined to be invalid the entire act is determined to be invalid. This is intended to protect the tax credit portion from legal proceedings."
Although the Illinois House and Senate are in the complete control of Democrats, both the House Speaker and the Senate President were actively in support of these neo-Vouchers.
and full funding for Charters ("So was Democratic Speaker Mike Madigan, who fell in love with the scandal-ridden Gulen charters after
several free trips to Turkey." Ravitch blog)
According to an email (Signing of Historical School Funding) from Beth Purvis, Illinois "Secretary of Education":
"I invite you to join Governor Rauner, Speaker Madigan, Leader Durkin, President Cullerton, Leader Brady, Mayor Emanuel, Representative Davis, Representative Pritchard, Senator Manar,
Senator Barickman and members of the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission for the signing of SB1947."
At 2:30 p.m. today the Betsy DeVos law will become Illinois law. Senate Bill 1947 is Senate Bill 1 plus the neo-Vouchers so it contains the ELIMINATION of direct and dedicated funding for special education teachers (and others providing direct services) and for Summer School, replaced by Special Education Investments based on one position for each 141 GENERAL EDUCATION students (pretending that every school district in Illinois has exactly the same percentage of students in special education).
Who would have thought that the greatest victory for U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos would have been in the blue State of Illinois?
SB 1 at any price?
Are people willing to support Senate Bill 1 even if it becomes an attack on Public Education and on the right to Special Education?
The sponsors of SB 1 are willing to accept Private School Vouchers (called tax credits). Are you?
If not, contact your State Representative and State Senator IMMEDIATELY saying you OPPOSE the new Senate Bill 1 (it will have a different bill number).
Vouchers, $ to CPS in SB 1
Will any group now actively OPPOSE Senate Bill 1 and this agreement to impose PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHERS, even more money to Chicago Public Schools, higher property taxes in Chicago, and the ability of all other voters to vote to DECREASE their property taxes?
SB 1 would end direct and dedicated State funding for special education teachers and for summer school, and pretend that every school district has exactly the same number of special
ed students (special education "investment" based on 1 position for 141 GENERAL education students). An agreed companion bill to Senate Bill 1 will contain: [POLITICO, August 25, 2017]
"Sources close to the negotiations confirmed to us on Thursday that in addition to the framework set out in SB1, it includes a plan for $75 million in scholarship money to benefit private schools.
"That is the gem that may lure enough Republicans to give the Illinois House the needed 71 votes to pass the measure. Senate Democrats have already voted to override SB1. There is another meeting on Sunday in Springfield and the House is scheduled to take up the voting on Monday. If it passes, the state then is authorized to send out general state aid to Illinois schools that was first due Aug. 10.
WHO'S HAPPY? - Mayor Rahm Emanuel is at the top of the list. He dodged repeated threats of funding cuts from Gov. Bruce Rauner, who went across the state to say downstate districts were bailing out Chicago public schools. Instead, Emanuel said at a news conference Thursday that Chicago schools were poised to get the funding promised in the original SB1 - and more. One source said CPS ends up with at least $7 million in additional funding, but precise details of the plan, hammered out behind closed doors by the four legislative leaders, have yet to be put to paper.
Bruce Rauner - Yes, he issued an amendatory veto of the original SB1. No, he wasn't in the negotiating room. Yes, he was pretty much kicked out of the negotiating room. Yes, he lost big on blocking a "bailout" of the Chicago Public Schools. Yes, he'll be asked why we all went through this delay if he wasn't going to stand firm on CPS issues. Still, Rauner needed a tangible accomplishment from his tenure.
Assuming this passes and is signed, a substantial change in the school funding formula is something to crow about. AND he can say he got school choice out of the deal.
Cardinal Blase Cupich - Cupich worked both sides in these negotiations. That includes talks with Speaker Mike Madigan. Having a pool of cash to benefit private schools, including under the Archdiocese, is an undoubted win.
WHO ISN'T HAPPY? Public education funding advocates, including teachers unions who oppose public money benefiting private education.
"Senate Bill 1 was designed to fix the inequitable school funding formula for the state of Illinois and remedy the state's position as last in the nation for education," the Chicago Teachers Union said in a statement on Thursday. "This current deal is a naked attempt by billionaire right-wing ideologue Gov. Bruce Rauner to push through a reverse Robin Hood scheme that siphons money from poor school districts and lets the wealthy avoid paying their fair share in taxes."
[Early yesterday before the tentative agreement was announced, the IEA issued the following:
“It’s a bitter irony that, to get the governor to do the right thing on school funding, the General Assembly is being pressured to do the wrong thing and pass a voucher program,” said Kathi Griffin, president of the Illinois Education Association.
“A voucher program is the wrong thing because it reduces money available to educate children in public schools, because private schools are not accountable for how they spend public dollars and because there is no advantage for the children this proposal is, allegedly, intended to help.”
In an age where accountability means everything – where standards are being implemented to ensure students are being taught what they need to succeed in life – why would Illinois take public money and give it to private schools that have no accountability?
“The voucher scheme is essentially a ransom payment that is being demanded in order to get fair funding for public school children statewide. It’s wrong,” Griffin said.
“If we are really interested in helping children, the obvious thing to do is support existing schools. We oppose this voucher scheme.”]
Vouchers in SB 1
PRIVATE SCHOOL VOUCHERS IN SENATE BILL 1
"If scholarships really do happen, that would be something Rauner and Republicans statewide could campaign on. School choice in a blue state?"
"On the table to bring Republicans on board SB1 in the House: $75 million in private school scholarships. Under serious discussion is a 75-cent-on the dollar credit to families choosing private schools, with a five-year sunset on the program. That reflects the desires of Cardinal Blase Cupich and other advocates of the program, sources tell POLITICO."
"SB1 - the funding boost for Chicago that Gov. Bruce Rauner detests, remains intact; SB1 itself changes very little, except for Democrats open to adding unfunded mandate and property tax relief."
"Negotiations continue, but time is running out." NO vote this week. Vote delayed until next week.
POLITICO, August 23, 2017
SB 1: Vouchers, mandate relief
SB 1 "COMPROMISE": VOUCHERS, MANDATE RELIEF?
"Maybe Republicans could support the Democrats’ education funding bill if it included a tuition tax credit program for low- and middle-income families to attend private schools and public schools outside their districts. "Even Madigan has signaled support for the idea.
"Maybe Republicans would accept a compromise that included relief for school districts from redundant, annoying and expensive state mandates." Chicago Tribune editorial, August 16, 2017 The Illinois House of Representatives is today expected to hold a meaningless vote on Senate Bill 1947 (which is the language of SB 1 with the wording of Gov. Rauner's veto added). Negotiation continues on changes to SB 1, with a vote not expected until next week.
Illinois: Toss students out
Senate Bill 1 would prevent any school district from losing money, even if its enrollment declined drastically (hold harmless forever)
Also, if a school district drastically reduced its number of students in special ed, and its number of special ed teachers, it would lose NO State funds (and no Federal funds).
SB 1 rewards bad behavior.
(1) Hold harmless so schools lose nothing if students are reduced for ANY reason (almost every superintendent can identify at least a few students - and sometimes many students -
that they would like to get rid of so they can "better serve all other students").
(2) Under SB 1, schools can reduce special ed, reduce the number of special ed teachers, etc. and LOSE NO STATE OR FEDERAL FUNDS.
So SB 1 provides ZERO incentive to keep any child in school, and would encourage the removal of IDEA protections (preventing suspension, expulsion, and providing for the IEP and due process that other students do not have)
(Remember it is claimed that Illinois has "dramatic over-identification" for special ed, and that RTI is an "essential" part of SB 1.)
==I’m unaware how a local public school can dump unwanted students out of a district’s responsibilities==
(1) Suspend them until they drop out of school.
(2) Do nothing about students who are truant.
(3) Instead of identifying students for special education, place them in Response to Intervention (RTI) or in Multi Tiered System of Support (MTSS). [where they have NO IDEA rights]
We have an extremely detailed Federal special education law (IDEA) because local schools were not providing special education for many students. IDEA (then called EHA) did NOT become law until 1975. SB 1 eliminates direct and dedicated funding for special education teachers and for special education summer school.
Believe it or not, SB 1 funds special education based on 141 GENERAL education students (exactly the same for every school district no matter how different the percentage of kids in special ed).
==The concerns you’ve detailed can be prevented and monitored to avoid this kind of abuse==
Monitored by whom? ISBE and the Feds are de-regulating. Sure, wealthy and well-informed parents can take action, but not everyone else. SB 1 will make this situation worse, not for all school districts and for all parents, but for too many.
==I know of no district systemically shutting out students==
CPS SPECIAL ED POLICY IS ‘DELAY AND DENY’
==All those moves are extreme and unpermitted through state law==
What utopian world do you live in? ISBE and the Feds have been ENCOURAGING RTI/MTSS on the absurd theory that they “prevent disability”.
==Parents are empowered to challenge any of them==
Look at what RNUG [see below] just stated (obviously a well informed parent) and what he went through. Most parents have little chance of challenging these actions.
==State advocates can stop any school district from doing this==
In wealthy areas of the State, perhaps mostly yes (and even then there is a severe shortage of advocates). In Chicago and most of the State, absolutely not.
- RNUG -
== I’m unaware how a local public school can dump unwanted students out of a district’s responsibilities ==
Just keep testing and testing on the front end, delaying the admission into the special education programs. We had to fight with the local district to get the needed help for one kid.
Thought we had that agreed to, but then another evaluator showed up for more tests.
My wife asked why the tests instead of the program we expected. My wife then handed the evaluator a 3 inch thick file of previous testing, letters back and forth, etc. The evaluator looked it over and asked my wife why we had all this. Her response: because we are going to sue the school district. The kid needing help was in the proper program that afternoon.
Our tale is not unique; in fact, it was fairly common. And that is how school districts can minimize Special Ed
[COMMENTS FROM CAPITOL FAX]
SB 1:Vouchers, property tax freeze
School vouchers and a property tax freeze (both of which would directly harm public schools) are now being discussed in changes to Senate Bill 1. BHJ
In hopes of averting another political impasse that could cut off nearly all state money flowing to schools, two key lawmakers on Wednesday [August 2] said they will try to negotiate a new school funding agreement after Gov. Bruce Rauner partially vetoed a similar measure backed by Democrats.
State Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington), a lead negotiator for Senate Republicans on school funding, said he and his colleagues will push to include additional measures in the school funding bill, such as a statewide property tax freeze long sought by Rauner.
Barickman, speaking on WBEZ’s Morning Shift
, said he also wants to lift some state mandates on schools districts so they have “more flexibility on how they spend their money,” and he wants the creation of a new scholarship program that lets students choose which school to attend — including private or parochial schools.
The concept is similar to a school vouchers program
, though its supporters dispute that characterization.
Steve Brown, a spokesman for Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, said the scholarship program might be worth giving serious consideration to “if properly balanced” with other compromises.
Madigan has long been an ally of the Archdiocese of Chicago, and the scholarships program could increase the number of students enrolled in parochial schools.
A spokeswoman for the Catholic Conference of Illinois said the organization, which represents the interests of the Catholic Church at the state Capitol, supports the scholarship proposal.
As part of a revised SB 1, Capitol Fax states - the governor’s hope to pass a $100 million private school “scholarship” tax credit bill, which is backed by the Chicago Archdiocese, among others.
Gov. Rauner said today [August 1] he’s “excited and hopeful that as part of a compromise… that that would include tuition tax credits.”
Is SB 1 dead?
"if he vetoes the bill, the bill is dead." Sen. Andy Manar, August 1.
Rep. Will Davis says other education-related items have been put on the table including giving schools some of the same exemptions to collective bargaining and outsourcing rules as CPS gets.
Davis and Manar are avoiding questions about a plan pushed by the Chicago Archdiocese and others for a scholarship program. [school vouchers]
SB 1: Voucher bill?
As part of a revised SB 1, Capitol Fax states - the governor’s hope to pass a $100 million private school “scholarship” tax credit bill, which is backed by the Chicago Archdiocese, among others.
Gov. Rauner said today [August 1] he’s “excited and hopeful that as part of a compromise… that that would include tuition tax credits.”
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?