Senate Bill 16, which has passed in the Illinois Senate and is awaiting debate in the House, will make sweeping changes in how the state funds education. In most suburban school districts, the bill will have a severe, negative impact. State education is currently funded by several sources – federal, state and local. SB 16 consolidates 83 percent of Illinois’ education resources and redistributes according to a formula devised by Senate Democrats and Democrat House leaders.
State Representative Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) stepped up her fight against unfair and inequitable school funding reform on Tuesday by launching an on-line petition against SB16.
The petition is available on Ives’ legislative web site (www.jeanneives.org) or through a direct link at http://www.ilhousegop.org/sb16_petition.
SB16, which passed the Illinois Senate in May, rewrites the school funding formula which determines how General State Aid (GSA) is distributed to all Illinois public school districts. As written, the bill strips $140 million from DuPage County Schools and channels the money to the Chicago Public Schools and to downstate school districts.
Ives encourages all citizens to sign the petition and let their voices be heard. “There is nothing equitable about SB16,” said Ives. “This bill merely reallocates existing state resources in a way that is very damaging to every school district I represent.”
In addition to signing the petition, Ives encourages all residents to attend a SB16 Impact Forum she is hosting this week on Thursday, October 9 at Wheaton Warrenville South High School at 7:00 PM. Ives will be joined by Senator Michael Connelly, State Superintendent of Education Christopher Koch, State Board of Education CFO Robert Wolfe and area superintendents for a frank discussion about the local impact of SB16. “SB16 is a bad bill and citizens need to get involved in the fight to stop it,” said Ives.
Wheaton Warrenville South High School is located at 1993 Tiger Trail in Wheaton.
State Representative Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) and Senator Michael Connelly (R-Wheaton) will partner on October 9 for a community forum about SB16, a controversial rewrite of the school funding formula. As written and approved in the Illinois Senate, SB16 would divert millions in General State Aid (GSA) dollars away from hundreds of Illinois school districts.
The event is open to the public and will begin at 7:00 PM in the Wheaton Warrenville South High School Auditorium, 1993 Tiger Trail in Wheaton. Ives and Connelly will be joined at the event by State Superintendent of Education Christopher Koch, Chief Financial Officer for the Illinois State Board of Education Robert Wolfe, and other Elementary & Secondary Education experts. Several State Representatives and Senators from affected districts will also be in attendance.
“I know that in DuPage County alone $140 million in General State Aid would be diverted away from the county and toward the Chicago Public Schools and downstate schools,” said Ives. “General State Aid money comes from the taxpayers of Illinois and this is an unfair reallocation of those dollars.”
SB16 passed in the Illinois Senate in May but was not called for a vote in the House of Representatives. However, House Democrats have been meeting throughout the summer and fall with education advocacy groups to determine how to best resurrect the bill. It is likely that a revised form of the bill will surface during the General Assembly’s November Veto Session.
“I recognize and fully support the need for comprehensive and equitable education funding reform, but SB16 is not the answer,” said Ives. “SB16 simply creates a new list of funding ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ by funding struggling districts at the expense of suburban taxpayers who already pay a disproportionate share of the cost of education in this state.”
According to Ives, the drastic decrease in funding for education locally would have a devastating effect on school districts across the area. “Revenue decreases at the levels included in SB16 would lead to widespread teacher layoffs and the need for costly referendums to raise taxes locally,” she said. “The taxpayers I represent are already overtaxed and stretched to their limits, so further increases to their local tax bills is not a realistic solution. My hope is that legislators are interested in taking the time needed address the school funding issue in a comprehensive manner rather than relying on this quick-fix attempt to divert money into select districts.”