From State Senator Karen McConnaughay:
I think everyone would agree, all Illinois schools need fiscal stability and certainty.
That’s why it is critical for my colleagues to either accept the Governor’s recent changes to a pending school funding reform measure (known as Senate Bill 1), or come to the negotiating table in good faith to work on a bipartisan alternative that is equitable and fair for all Illinois school districts.
Stay updated on the flooding aftermath through Kane and McHenry Counties’ websites.
As a member of the bipartisan, bicameral Illinois School Funding Reform Commission, which was charged with identifying a more fair solution for funding schools in Illinois, I have serious concerns about Senate Bill 1 as passed by the General Assembly.
Senate Bill 1 directed millions of more state dollars to Chicago Public Schools above and beyond what they would receive if the district was treated like every other school in Illinois.
If our goal is to make Illinois’ school funding system more equitable, we cannot allow for the continued manipulation of the system in order to artificially direct hundreds of millions of dollars to one school district—Chicago Public Schools.
All of the state’s school districts do better when CPS’s “special deals” are removed. This bailout of CPS is even more egregious when taking into account the City of Chicago, despite hosting some of the most valuable property in the state, has retained low property values through a TIF system that fixes the amount of property taxes available to CPS for extended periods of time, and diverts money away from Chicago Public Schools.
As you well know, residents of Kane and McHenry Counties are burdened with some of the highest property taxes in the nation.
Why would any lawmaker, particularly lawmakers in Kane, McHenry and other collar counties, endorse a school funding system that continues to funnel more money into CPS and away from districts that are struggling financially?
That isn’t to say that CPS doesn’t deserve assistance, but I do think that if Chicago wants to direct more money to its schools, perhaps the city needs to consider options for directing more local revenue to its school districts, as residents in many other regions of the state have chosen to do.
Fixing the school aid formula is the first step in a series of critical reforms to the state’s education system.
Let’s get our schools funded, and direct our attention to providing mandate relief from the more than 100 unfunded mandates that plague Illinois schools. These punitive costs and red-tape that hinder our administrators and our teachers, and must be a top priority as we continue to identify ways to reform our school system here in Illinois.
Engagement from all parties is the only way we’ll make true progress for our kids.
I remain willing to compromise—and I hope my colleagues across the aisle are as well.
Please let me know your thoughts and concerns by emailing me at [email protected].. I encourage you to stay updated by signing up for my email newsletter and finding more information at www.senatormcconnaughay.com.
Kane County Waiving Assessment Permit Fees
Property and/or building owners impacted by the recent flooding, the Kane County Development and Community Services Department recently announced that it is waiving fees for a Damage Assessment Permit, which is required to address flood-damaged buildings. More information on the damage assessment permit, this information can be found here.