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Message from D300 Superintendent Mr. Heid about SB-16

District 300 Community Members, While a relative newcomer to Illinois, it hasn’t taken long to realize the deficiencies within the state’s school funding formula.Recently proposed legislation, Senate Bill 16 (SB 16), offers a new funding formula that attempts to address existing disparities. I support the State of Illinois in their effort to develop a formula to better fund public schools. However, I cannot support any formula that penalizes efficiently run school districts that operate below the state average for expenditure per pupil and achieve higher than state average performance scores. Additionally, the proposed formula only focuses on equity, while failing to acknowledge the true issue of adequacy.In 2013, the Education Funding Advisory Board recommended the minimum funding level should be $8,672.00 per pupil. The Illinois legislature responded to this recommendation by establishing the minimum funding level at $6,119.00 per pupil. However, the legislature has consistently failed to fully fund school districts at this foundation level. Instead, the state continues to prorate the funding formula annually. For the current year, Illinois funded school districts 89% of the established foundation level, or $5,953.00 per pupil. The SB 16 proposal decreases the foundation level to $5,154.00, yet there is no explanation why the state proposed this new foundation funding level. How is it that the legislature saw fit to reduce school funding by 11.6% while revenue has improved almost 22%?Bill proponents have yet to provide specific data regarding the 2015-16 funding levels. However, keeping all existing funding factors equal, our initial calculations project District 300 would lose over $2 million dollars annually. Additionally, school districts surrounding Kane County stand to lose over $31 million dollars.The State of Illinois must also move to address the extreme burden placed on local homeowners. While I do wish to pit one system against another, it is important to note the disparity in school funding and the additional burden that suburban taxpayers carry as compared to their Chicago counterparts: Chicago Public SchoolsSuburban SchoolsFederal Funding Support16%2%State Funding Support34%7%Local Funding Support50%91% Other concerns with SB 16 include:

  1. Weighted Factors Not Based On Actual Costs - The proposed weighting for student needs in     SB 16 is not based on the actual cost to deliver services and were pulled from other states utilizing weightings.  If the formula is weighted for student needs, the weight should reflect the actual cost to provide services, whether funded from local or state resources. SB 16 authors have yet to provide information about how they arrived at the proposed weighted formulas. As a result, diminished funding will have a direct impact on the services provided to our most at-risk students.
  2. No Foundation FloorDistrict 300 is concerned that the SB 16 foundation level is based upon total current resources and the total student weighting figure. Without an established floor for the foundation level (that will be honored and not subject to partial funding), state funding will continue to be volatile and we cannot quantify the true impact of the bill on District 300’s finances.
  3. Creation of Winners and LosersDistrict 300 has serious concerns with a funding system that creates winners and losers.  We cannot support a funding system that penalizes efficiently run school districts with low tax rates, low per pupil spending and high test scores that will be asked to subsidize smaller, less efficient districts. In essence a district like D300 operates $2,000 below the state average in expenditures. However, we stand to lose funding that may be diverted to a school system that currently spends almost twice as much as we do. In addition, there is no guarantee that diverted funds will significantly impact students or classrooms or will not be spent on overhead in less efficient systems.
  4. Mandate Relief - SB 16 does not include mandate relief and districts that stand to lose significant state dollars require relief to respond to decrease funding.  District 300 suggests that mandates fall into two categories: “Essential” and “Recommended.”  Local school boards should have the opportunity to make a decision on recommended mandates and opt out on an annual basis as part of the budget hearing process.
  5. Impact UncertaintyThe following must be addressed to fully understand how SB 16 will impact District 300:
  • What is going to happen with state revenue (i.e. income tax extension)?
  • How was the foundation level of $5,154 determined?  Is there a floor in the bill for the foundation level?
  • Will the state finally honor the actual foundation level or continue to provide partial or prorated funding?
  • Is there any plan to reduce other state revenue not included in this calculation to offset losses? 
  • What's in it for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) who is scheduled to lose $38.5 million?
  • What are the plans for the CPS pension payment ($200 million) and how will that impact SB 16?
  • What is the plan for pension reform and the looming cost share/shift?
  • What is the plan for property tax relief?
  • What is the plan to replace the funds provided by the income tax if this source of revenue is not renewed?
  • For fiscal year 2013, SB 16 created 475 losers and 462 winners under the guise of equity yet fails to address adequacy. How can we achieve a system that ensures adequacy first?

There is some good news.I am pleased to share that several area representatives also support the development of an improved school funding system and oppose systems that punish efficient districts, are based upon erroneous formulas that don’t reflect actual costs, aren’t developed in collaboration, and fail to address the issue of adequacy. I commend our legislators on their efforts to prevent SB 16, in its current form, from being passed. I strongly encourage every member of our community to contact our representatives via email, traditional mail, or phone to support their efforts:Senator Karen McConnaughay (R)33rd District      District Office:81 S. McLean BoulevardSouth Elgin, IL 60177(847) 214-8245Email: Representative Michael W. Tyron (R)66th District      District Office:1500 CarlemontSuite DCrystal Lake, IL 60014Email: Representative Mike Fortner (R)49th District      District Office:135 Fremont St.West Chicago, IL 60185(847) 293-9344Email: Representative Timothy L. Schmitz (R)65th District      District Office:127 Hamilton StreetSuite DGeneva, IL 60134(630) 845-9590(630) 845-9592 (fax)Email: Representative Robert W. Pritchard (R)70th District      District Office:2600 DeKalb AvenueSuite CSycamore, IL 60178(815) 748-3494(815) 748-4630 (fax)Email: bob@pritchardstaterep.comYour voice is critical to ensuring that our legislative body understands that we cannot continue to give lip service to public education. Regardless of political affiliation, access to a free, quality, and equal education is a constitutional right.In District 300, we strive to ensure every single student is college or career ready upon graduation. The passage of SB 16 reduces funding that is critical for ensuring the success of our mission. It is my intent to advocate for each and every student in our district, to ensure they are provided the funding that ensures their future success.I hope that you will join me in my opposition of SB 16.Sincerely,Fred HeidSuperintendentDistrict 300

Phone: 847-532-6900
Lake in the hills elementary
519 Willow Street
Lake in the Hills, IL 60156
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