The Senate Bill 1 and School Funding Dilemma
Let me just leave this here for folks to review and let this sink in… So, Senate Bill 1 is supposed to even the playing field in school funding in the State of Illinois. House Amendment 1 warps SB1 so much that instead of treating ALL school districts the same, it creates the special effect for CPS that has gone on since the 1970 Illinois Constitution was ratified. Someone, anyone, help me understand how Governor Rauner (not that I'm a fan of the guy) is wrong in taking Speaker Madigan and the others in favor of SB1 + HA1 to task to ensure equity? Why is it that Chicago Public Schools (CPS), which has historically received the "lion's share" of state funding for education should receive a "shell game" bump in funding?
How about this… Based on 2016 Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) figures, CPS educated 19.2% of the State's public school students, yet it received 48.4% in funding for students with IEP's, 26.8% of funding for truancy programs, 37% for early childhood, 50.7% for breakfast programs, and 30.7% for special education staff reimbursement! How can legislators cry foul that folks are "picking on kids in Chicago" when the funding hasn't been equitable all the time that CPS has received the block grant.
Oh… And let's not say that ALL folks are in favor of this bill. Take a look at the override vote from the senate…And, to top this all off, IF the "hold harmless" component of this SB1 + HA1 language is not budgeted, funding would be prorated on a percentage basis, which would mean two, three, 5, 10 years down the road, school districts could be receiving even less in state funding than they are today. This doesn't even address the fact that the STATE has the burden of "primarily funding education" (see Article X, paragraph 1 of the Illinois State Constitution). Now, if the STATE has this burden, logic would dictate that this amount is greater than or equal to 51% of the cost, but it hasn't done that since (wait for it) – the 1970 Illinois Constitution was ratified. Ugggh… Rant over… for now… (Stars represent those senators who voted in favor of SB1 + HA1, and to override the governor's amendatory veto. The others voted agains SB1 + HA1, and to support the governor's AV.)
To top this all off, prior to the Senate's vote on August 13, 2017, Advance Illinois and the Illinois Association of School Business Officials hosted town hall meetings throughout the state. I attended the town hall meeting hosted at Troy Middle School in Shorewood. Present were state Representatives Larry Walsh, Jr. (D) and Natalie Manley (D); and State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D). I noticed that neither Representative David Welter, Sr. (R) nor Senator Sue Rezin (R) were invited. Why is it that these groups touting support are afraid to hear an opposing view point? Why not invite Representative Welter or Senator Rezin? Great question, I know… Maybe e-mailing Mike Jacoby, Executive Director at IASBO would be a good idea, although, I am doubtful you will get an answer.