The redistribution of school funding in the state of Illinois is a complicated and sometimes emotional issue. As of today, Kane County residents have a few hours remaining to weigh in on Illinois Senate Bill 16, which aims to do exactly that — dramatically change the way Illinois schools are funded.
Click the link at the end of this sentence for a PowerPoint overview of Senate Bill 16, the Illinois School Funding Reform Act of 2014, provided by the Illinois State Board of Education.
Here’s one simple explanation of the bill, posted on the Kaneland School District website:
“Senate Bill 16 (SB16) is the recommendation of the Illinois Senate Education Funding Advisory Committee tasked with improving public education funding in Illinois. The bill passed the Senate, and is expected to be voted on in the House as early as November.
“If enacted into law, SB16 would drastically change the way the state funds education, but does not increase the level of funding. Rather, the bill changes the way limited state funding is doled out to among districts statewide. School districts with higher assessed property values, a majority of which are in the northeastern part of the state, would receive much less state funding. While districts with lower assessed property values would receive more. SB16 is intended to improve equity of funding across the state, but does not address unfunded obligations by the state that have occurred in recent years. Click here to see a graphic representation of the redistribution of funds.”
Kane County’s school districts have differing interests and stakes in whether the bill becomes law.
That’s why a number of school superintendents, politicians, PACs and parents will be travelling to Springfield for a 3 p.m. Tuesday hearing on the state Senate bill. Scroll down in this article to find out how you can submit written testimony. The testimony is accepted up to the end of the day of the committee hearing’s scheduled date.
Basically, four Kane County school districts — East Aurora School District 131, West Aurora School District 129, CUSD 300 and School District U-46 (Elgin) — would benefit in terms of total state-funding dollars and per-pupil dollars if the bill were to pass, although CUSD 300 is right on the cusp.
Kane County’s other school districts — Batavia School District 101, Central School District 300, Kaneland School District 302, St. Charles School District 303 and Geneva School District 304 — are expected to lose revenue.
Information from state Sen. Karen McConnaughay indicates Huntley School District 158, which has a smaller portion of its footprint in Kane County, would lose $2.2 million if the legislation were to pass.
Giant-sized School District U-46 likely would stand to gain the most among Kane County districts from passage of the bill, with an estimated increase in annual revenue of more than $24 million. St. Charles School District 303 likely would be lose the most among Kane County districts, more than $8 million in annual funding, according to numerous sources.
Click these links to find out the information your Kane County school district is providing on Senate Bill 16:
Central School District 301 (Burlington)
Community Unit School District 300 (Carpentersville)
How to Submit Written Testimony
Citizens may submit written testimony for Tuesday’s hearing by following these steps:
2. Scroll down the page and click on GA Dashboard (in red ink along the left side of the page)
3. Click on the “Register” icon and fill in your information (registration is recommended but not required)
4. Click on House, Committee Hearings, and then on the “Month” tab
5. Click on the piece of paper icon to the right of the listed hearing (November 18th, Appropriations- Elementary & Secondary Education)
6. Click on Create witness slip
7. Fill out the form
8. Fill in the “subject matter” portion
9. Under “Testimony” you can have your written comments supplied to all board members. This is optional. Interestingly, they do not accept emailed testimony. You may fax your written statement to 217-557-2165 or you may mail it to Illinois State House, Room 426, 401 S. Second Street, Springfield, IL 62706. Make sure that your written testimony is clearly marked at the top of the page: SB16 Testimony, and your name.
10. Fill in verification code
11. Click the box to accept the terms
12. Click Submit
A “Frequently Asked Questions” document is available for those who have additional questions about the process. That document is available at: http://my.ilga.gov/Home/FAQ.
WRITTEN TESTIMONY HOW-TO SOURCE: Geneva School District 304
- Here is the data (sorted by state rep): http://www.isbe.net/EFAC/sb16/
- Here is the general page where you can get the text of the bill and excel reports of the data:http://www.isbe.net/EFAC/