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.
As an example of how SB 16 could impact us locally, this bill will take $9.8 million away from Community Unit School District 200, an 82-percent drop in state funding, or the equivalent of funding for 132 teachers. The result will potentially be teacher layoffs and/or property tax hikes through a referendum.
Most importantly, SB 16 is a money grab designed to prevent Chicago’s severely underfunded teacher pension system from collapsing under its own weight at the expense of suburban schools. The legislation has a provision allowing any local resources used by a board of education for payments into a public school teachers pension fund (for normal costs) to be deducted from their local resources available when calculating their available local resources for formula purposes. This provision will have the effect of increasing their Per Pupil Aid Grant by an amount equal to that pension payment. No other district gets this type of relief.
Additionally, suburban members of the House Elementary and Secondary Appropriations Committee, both Republican and Democrat, were not invited to recent meetings about SB 16, even though taxpayer-funded staff from the Illinois State Board of Education were involved in the discussions.
Finally, and perhaps most discouragingly, the Senate sponsor of the bill admitted through testimony that he never looked at how the underlying factors that feed the formula are determined, such as equalized assessed value and poverty count. This is unacceptable.
I do not disagree that the school funding formula needs adjustment. In fact, I have advocated for a change in the funding formula that would promote equity, efficiency and excellence.
Sen. Michael Connelly and I invite you to join us on Oct. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Wheaton Warrenville South Auditorium for a forum on SB16 and the future of education in Illinois. We will be joined by ISBE Superintendent Chris Koch, ISBE CFO Robert Wolfe and other area legislators and superintendents. Please let these state officials know how you feel.
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. Jeannieives.org) or by click here. 

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.”
-By Representatives Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton), Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) and Joe Sosnowski (R-Rockford)

This academic year we are sending 258,580 Illinois children into schools that will fail to bring 60 percent of them to grade-level by June. Of those who do graduate from high school in four years, fewer than 20 percent will be considered "college ready." And that's with funding to public schools in excess of $13,000 per student (not including state funding for after-school programs, construction grants, targeted initiatives or pension payments). Is that acceptable to you?

Frighteningly, these statistics only represent students enrolled in 10 percent of the state's lowest-performing schools. But they're not outliers. The next tier of ranked schools shows similar results: Fewer than half of the students perform at grade level.



By its own measurements, the Illinois State Board of Education says it should take action against nearly 100 school districts for lack of yearly progress for three or more years.

These are not the schools to which wealthy families or even middle-class suburbanites send their kids. They are not the schools that Illinois' political leaders — including the governor, House speaker and Senate president — attended. Nor are they the private schools to which many legislators are sending their children and grandchildren. These politicians are not wrong to choose the best education possible for their loved ones. They are, however, wrong to steadfastly deny the same opportunity to other children

and their parents who have no voice in the big-government, unionized system called education in Illinois.

If we have great teachers in every classroom and funding to the tune of $13,000 per student per year, then how do we account for the ISBE statistic that less than half of Chicago Public Schools students meet state standards and only 26 percent are college-ready? Or, that the National Assessment of Educational Progress reports that nearly two-thirds of Illinois fourth-graders do not perform at grade level in math or reading?

Explain how 91 percent of students fail to meet state standards in Illinois' lowest-performing school, Mark Twain Primary in Kankakee? In the Aurora East school district, nearly 70 percent of fourth-graders are not reading at grade level. In Rockford, more than 60 percent of eighth-graders started school with math and reading skills below state standards.

The problem is systemic. In Illinois, we have a system in which politicians and bureaucrats have too much control in the classroom, parents have too little, and students get lost in the shuffle.

The truth is, when parents have options beyond an underperforming neighborhood school or can move children from an average school to a great one, improved outcomes follow. Choice leads to competition. Competition exposes inferiority and inefficiency while spurring innovation.

In the Midwest and across the nation, school-choice reforms are working.

Indiana students who receive school vouchers have shown statistically significant gains in test scores, and the program has saved taxpayers $41 million. Students participating in Wisconsin's voucher program graduate from high school and enroll and remain in four-year colleges at a higher rate than a carefully matched set of students in Milwaukee Public Schools. The voucher program saved the public more than $52 million in fiscal year 2011, making school choice not only right for families but for the state as a whole.

In a We Ask America poll, commissioned by the Illinois Policy Institute and taken this year, in six low-performing school districts, on average more than 71 percent of parents who gave their schools a C, D or F rating said they would use vouchers to send their child to a school of their choosing if they could. Even when parents gave their schools an A or B, they still wanted the ability to choose their child's school.

That's really what this debate is about. It's about putting parents and children ahead of government bureaucrats. It's about ensuring that all children have an opportunity to grow and learn — not just those whose parents can afford to leave failing schools. And, it's about empowering parents to pick the school and method of learning that can best meet their child's needs.
Representative Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) is organizing a Health and Fitness Boot Camp for children in her district ages 8-12. REGISTER HERE, and provide the child's name, age, and a phone number.

Last year, the event was a great success and this year Ives has expanded the program to promote fitness throughout the summer.

This year, recruits will be able to pick up a fitness pass book at their local library, community center or at Ives’ District Office. Recruits will use the pass book to track their fitness level over the summer by completing four fitness activities each week, which parents will sign off on in the passbook. Each completed week will be a raffle entry for prizes from local businesses. Parents are also encouraged to administer an optional initial fitness test at the beginning of the summer. On August 15, those who have taken the initial assessment will re-test and if a recruit shows a 20% improvement in their fitness level they will be entered into a grand raffle.

Children can join the contest and fun at any time over the summer or just show up to participate in the Boot Camp on August 15 at Cantigny Park.

At Ives’ Fitness and Health Boot Camp, recruits will participate in a variety of health and fitness events, including:


• Complete an Obstacle Course by FTX Crossfit
• Scale a Climbing Wall
• Participate in a Fitness Test
• Earn personalized, commemorative dog tags
• Receive BMI testing and learn safe stretching from Advanced Healthcare Associates
• Take part in basic First Aid Instruction from Cadence Health and Edward Hospital
• Participate in activities from FORWARD of DuPage County
• Receive samples of healthy snacks
• First aide provided by Superior Ambulance
Raffle Sponsors include:
• Eagle Martial Arts
• MOVES Dance Studio
• Sports Authority
• Sox tickets from Dan Proft, WLS-AM
• More to come!

Boot Camp is free and open to all who wish to attend.

To receive a set of commemorative dog tags, recruits must RSVP by August 10 to repjeanneives@gmail.com or 630-384-1108.