Dr. Wise and Board President Kevin Frazier joined Vice President Carolyn Hansen, Secretary Trena Glenn, Doug Maris, and Assistant Superintendent Dr. Olsen for a special presentation Monday night in Pontiac, Illinois. Senator Jason Barickman presented legislation backed by the School Board Association, School Administrators Association, School Business Officials Organization, Regional Offices of Education, Illinois Parent Teacher Association, and by thousands of citizens across Illinois; which demands a change in the school funding formula.
The evidence based funding formula (SB 1403) starts from the premise of “what does it cost to educate a student in the state of Illinois with outcomes which prepare students for a global economy”. This premise is much different than the premise currently practiced in the state, where a debated and politicized dollar amount is agreed upon then poured into a broken formula which provides additional wealth for already wealthy districts, as well as providing a much greater proportion of funding to districts with the highest poverty needs.
Senator Barickman showed that even though the State has put more money into Education over the last fifteen years, the amount of money going into the General State Formula has decreased. The simple question is “then where did the money go”. The additional education dollars have been sent to high poverty districts, into grants opportunities, and to offset PTELL losses for districts. PTEL stands for Property Tax Extension Limits, otherwise known as tax caps, which is more common in the Northern Half of the state. Other increases, much like the one last session, went to Districts with the lowest fund balances, otherwise, penalizing Districts who had been working diligently to save dollars.