Get the Facts on Education Funding Reform

You may have seen an article circulating in a local paper recently that claims 37 Lake County school districts will lose money under the developing proposal to reform how Illinois funds our schools. Unfortunately, the content of this article was based on inaccurate and misleading information.

As its source, the article cited an Illinois State Board of Education analysis to claim that Lake County schools would lose funding. However, that analysis was not for the proposal currently being developed; it was based on old legislation from a previous General Assembly, Senate Bill 231. I was opposed to that legislation and it was never called for a vote in the House.

Here is what we know and what is happening with the developing proposal to reform how our schools are funded. The fact is, Illinois has the most inequitable school funding system in the nation. Due to this, the funding levels of education are heavily affected by where a student lives, creating a huge disparity in the quality of education between the property-rich and property-poor districts. This also places and undue burden on local residents leading to excessively high property taxes to ensure we have good schools.

To deal with this, we need the state to contribute a more appropriate funding level in order to relieve the very high property tax burden that far too many communities in this state are forced to bear. To ensure that good schools in areas with high-property wealth do not lose funding, but low-property wealth communities are better served, the proposal being worked on contains a “hold-harmless” provision, meaning no school will lose funding. Funding levels will either stay the same or will increase to ensure schools are receiving at least the base level of funding.

Changing the school funding structure in this way is good students and taxpayers. We hope to successfully negotiate current education funding bills in the House to ensure an equitable, quality education for all students in Illinois.

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