Minority-Dominated, Failing Elgin School District U-46 Could Gain $10 Million a Year from SB 2283 , Will Mike Madigan Call It?

Elgin has the second largest Illinois school district. In the 1970’s I used to represent it.

Today it has the distinction of having all five of its high schools in failure mode.

And because of an overlapping tax district problem that allowed a clerical mistake, it will lose about $10 million in State Aid to Education next year.

Will Democratic Party State Reps. Keith Farnham and Fred Crespo and Senator Mike Noland let this opportunity slip through their fingers or seize the day, so to speak?

The bill that would do the trip is Senate Bill 2283 and former Huntley School Board member Larry Snow has made a persuasive case for how Democrats should help U-46 get the millions in state aid it would otherwise be receiving, if the technical fix in SB 2283 is passed.

Of course the bill would help Huntley School District 158, too, to the tune of $2 million a year.

State Senator Pam Althoff is the sponsor of the bill, which has yet to receive a “No” vote.

The article under which Snow commented announced that House sponsor Republican State Rep. Mike Tryon had agreed not to seek past State Aid to Education that has been lost.

Snow posted comments to the Daily Herald story that mentioned SB 2283.

Elgin-area Republicans may have a large potential campaign issue if the House Democratic Party leadership lets this bill die on the floor without its being called to a vote.

Snow is hoping the political powers wake up soon enough to realize the information that an Illinois State Board of Education staffer gave the House leadership failed to mention the huge injustice to the 25,000 minority students in U-46, 15,000 of whom are Hispanic.

When I contacted Snow he said,

“It’s ridiculous this bureaucrat from the State Board of Education may make Democrat leaders and politicians look like real jackasses by killing this bill and not allowing a vote on the House floor.

“I have met her, listened to her and anyone who listened to her committee testimony recently should be able to tell she is off the deep end wanting to preserve this injustice and not disclosing the ongoing impact to the State’s second largest school district.”

Snow’s comments in the Daily Herald are below:

posted by Larry Snow on Sat May 23, 2009 10:37 AM

Here is the amendment to SB2283 Amend Senate Bill 2283 on page 3, line 3,

“after ‘5%’, by inserting ‘and only those adjustments made after Tax Year 2008-2009 and payable in School Year 2009-2010 are eligible for a claim for reimbursement under this paragraph.’”

It is a fix for year after year, not a one-year fix. The immediate impact on U-46 is about 10 million dollars with no approval.

Superintendent Torres has been informed this has a huge impact for his school district.

Let’s see what he does about it, if anything, to prevent more cuts and help the students. Over the past years U-46 lost about 50 million in State aid.

Congrats to Sen. Michael Noland for becoming a chief co-sponsor.

Now let’s see him fight to get what’s right done within his own party.

What good are you if you can’t get a technical correction fix that is huge for your district?

Which Chicago democrat would let this abuse continue for the Chicago Public schools? Go get ’em.

The local teachers union and school board have been snoozing on this for years.

Residents need your leadership, Sen. Noland. What House Democrats are going to help you get it passed?

posted by Larry Snow on Sat May 23, 2009 11:54 AM

U-46’s teachers’ union leaders and board members need to get out of snooze mode and beat the drums to get SB2283 passed. They should be in uproar over about 50 million being lost in the past because of a technical error.

If Speaker Madigan will let it be voted on in the House, after easily passing in the Senate, then U-46 will get the state aid funding it is being deprived of because of technical errors that need fixing.

Where is the Hispanic caucus in the House? Why aren’t they out in front to help their own on this bill? The fiscal office in U-46 should have been all over this, years ago. I am hoping Superintendent Torres has the guts and brains to go out and get this bill passed. It is H U G E for U-46.

Jesse Ruiz, chair of the State Board of Education should do something about one of ISBE’s employees, Toni Wagner making it her personal “job” and mission to prevent SB2283 and U-46 from recovering and receiving the millions of State Aid it rightfully deserves.

Wagner has opposed SB2283. which would help over 15,000 Hispanic students in U-46 by making a technical fix in the law. Anyone think if Wagner was Gonzalez there would be cooperation, not opposition?

posted by Larry Snow on Sat May 23, 2009 1:06 PM

Speaker Madigan was a true leader in getting referendum reform legislation passed in the past. He saw the injustice to taxpayers and got it fixed. I have praised him and the Democrats in the past for doing this and it is praise well deserved.

I disagree with any Republican sentiments to not press hard for SB2283 and let it fail because they can then potentially use its failure as a future political campaign issue.

It is a huge injustice U-46 has five out of five failing high schools for five years in a row (last time I looked) and they are being underfunded by millions in state aid because of a technical glitch in the School Code.

Speaker Madigan and Jesse Ruiz aren’t involved at this level of detail.

Good House Democrats voted it out of committee in spite of an underling ISBE employee ranting against doing so to the House committee. I didn’t need to be physically present in Springfield for that committee hearing. The committee hearing was transmitted on the internet. (continued in next comment)

posted by Larry Snow on Sat May 23, 2009 1:50 PM

If Republican legislators are afraid of publicly calling out an ISBE employee for preventing an injustice from being corrected, I am not. The injustice needs to be corrected and there’s not a lot of time left for more patty-cake politics that let’s an ISBE bureaucrat perpetuate a real injustice to the second largest school district in the State.

If this gets this injustice the publicity it deserves so it gets corrected, great. It doesn’t matter how much Wagner may be right about anything else in the past. Her opposition speaking for ISBE to SB2283 is as wrong as underfunding five out of five failing high schools in Illinois’ second largest school district.

I am hopeful if Speaker Madigan and his office get the correct information and facts and don’t rely on the biased opinion of an underling ISBE employee, the injustice to over 15,000 Hispanic students will get corrected. Properly funding education is a Democrat mantra. I am hopeful Speaker Madigan will stop the abuse and injustice once he knows that’s what is going on.

posted by Larry Snow on Sat May 23, 2009 3:43 PM

Superintendent Torres may want to direct someone in U-46’s fiscal office to take the fifteen minutes it takes to make the calculation showing the loss of state aid SB2283 will fix and get the facts straightened out with someone in Speaker Madigan’s office. Hopefully Mr. Ruiz, chair of the Illinois State Board of Education will also make sure the correct facts get to Speaker Madigan’s office.

The Democrats, with Speaker Madigan’s leadership, need to right this technical flaw wrong that is disadvantaging so many Hispanic children in U-46.

25,000 minority (including 15,000 Hispanic) children shouldn’t be receiving erroneous second rate funding because they are in second largest school district in Illinois.

Democrat leaders wouldn’t tolerate this for the largest school district in Illinois and shouldn’t tolerate this for the second largest as well.

Especially when it is on the floor of the House to pass the legislature.

Governor Quinn needs to be heard on whether he supports this technical fix in SB2283 that will help 25,000 minority children get a better education.

Even if Governor Quinn stays silent on helping these children, Speaker Madigan should make sure SB2283 is passed.

= = = = =
In the photo on top newly elected State Rep. Keith Farnham (D-Elgin) was talking to Carpentersville School District 300 Chief Technology Officer Eric Willard. The head shot at the bottom is of Larry Snow.

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