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Rauner protects suburban schools against Chicago fund grab
Gov. Bruce Rauner won his battle against the bloated and failed Chicago public schools forcing the legislature to significantly cut-back additional funding to bailout Chicago and redistribute those monies to needy suburban and state school systems that had been ignored. The plan also allows a 75 percent tax deduction on scholarship fund contributions.
By Ray Hanania
UPDATE: Rauner expected to sign the legislation Thursday August 31, 2017.
Gov. Bruce Rauner forced the Illinois Legislature Monday (August 28, 2017) to cut back excessive funding for the mismanaged and crime-ridden Chicago Public Schools and instead use the money to shore-up education in suburban and state schools targeted for cutbacks by the Chicago-controlled Machine.
Rauner’s veto of the Chicago-driven school funding legislation forced members of the legislature to regroup and develop a new plan approved by a bipartisan coalition of Republicans and Democrats. The new plan reduces the amount of additional funding for Chicago by $463 million and redistributes the money to needy suburban and downstate schools which had been denied any funding increases over prior years.
Chicago schools will still receive $29 million in additional state funding above last year’s allocation, making it the second largest recipient of aide in the state under this plan.
The re-allocation of $463 million from Chicago ensures that the majority of Illinois’ 923 school districts (including alternative schools and other education centers) will receive more funds than they received last year or that the legislature had planned to give them, ensuring suburban and downstate schools can address major education concerns.
About 15 percent of the school districts outside of Chicago which had been ignored by the original Chicago-led funding plan, will receive significant increases under the new plan.
For example, in 2016, Chicago received $1.29 billion in funding from the state of Illinois and had been allotted $1.88 billion by the Chicago-controlled legislature.
As a result of Rauner’s veto and his forcing the Illinois General Assembly to re-allocate school funding, Chicago’s schools will still receive nearly $28,688,793 in additional state funding above last year’s allocation bringing this year’s total state funding allocation for Chicago schools to $1.32 billion. Chicago receives nearly 10 times more funding for its schools than any of the other large schools districts in Illinois.
Only Elgin School District 46 received more additional funds than Chicago in the new budget, or $29,776,685, about $12.8 million more than originally allocated before Rauner’s intervention. Last year, Elgin only received $134 million, one-tenth of Chicago’s allocation. With the additional money taken from Chicago’s allocation, Elgin schools will receive $163.5 million this year.
Waukegan Consolidated Schools received the 3rd largest funding allocation of $21,101,766, or $6.6 million more than what was budgeted. Last year, Waukegan only received $110 million. With the additional money taken from Chicago’s allocation, Waukegan schools will receive $131 million this year.
Only 8 other school districts received funding in excess of $10 million including Aurora East District 131 ($18 mil), Plainfield School District 202 ($15 mil), Rockford School District 205 ($14.8 mil), Joliet School District 86 ($12.96 mil), Cicero Elementary School District 99 ($11.9 mil), Morton High school District 201 ($11.7 mil), Oswego School District 308 ($10.3 mil) and Aurora West School District 129 ($10 mil), all district’s with large minority populations and in need of additional programs to shore up education services.
Only 20 of the 923 Illinois school districts, in addition to Chicago schools, received less than what was originally proposed. Willow Springs School District 108 received $6,919 less than it had expected.
Another 160 school districts, including of the state’s Alternative School District, either received the same funding they received last year or received an additional allocation that was less than $1,000.
A total of 385 schools received more than $100,000 in additional funding from the state.
In the immediate Chicagoland suburbs, many school district’s profited from the cutback in additional money planned for Chicago under the old plan.
Here are some examples:
Argo Community High school District 217 received $5.7 million in state funds last year and will receive $6.4 million this year from the state. Under the old plan, Argo would have received only $6 million, but now will receive any addition $434,000 under the new plan approved Monday.
Burbank School District 111 received $8.99 million last year, but will receive $10.6 million this year. Under the old budget plan, Burbank schools would only have receive $9.5 million, or $500,000 more under the old plan. Under the new plan, by redistributing additional funds allocated to Chicago schools, Burbank schools will receive $1.6 million more this year.
You can click here to download a spreadsheet showing how much your school district will receive under Gov. Rauner’s plan. Here is a look at a selected group of school districts in the Chicagoland suburban region:
|Last year 2016||New Plan for 2017||Old plan for 2017||Increase from 2016||Additional funding|
ARGO COMM H S DIST 217
BURBANK SCHOOL DISTRICT 111
CHICAGO RIDGE SCHOOL DIST 127-5
DES PLAINES C C SCH DIST 62
FRANKFORT C C SCH DIST 157C
FRANKFORT COMM UNIT SCH DIST 168
HOMER COMM CONS SCH DIST 33C
JOLIET SCHOOL DIST 86
JOLIET TWP HS DIST 204
LA GRANGE SCHOOL DIST 102
LA GRANGE SCHOOL DIST 105 (SOUTH)
LYONS SCHOOL DIST 103
LYONS TWP H S DIST 204
MIDLOTHIAN SCHOOL DIST 143
MOKENA SCHOOL DIST 159
NEW LENOX SCHOOL DIST 122
NORTH PALOS SCHOOL DIST 117
OAK LAWN COMM H S DIST 229
OAK LAWN-HOMETOWN SCH DIST 123
ORLAND SCHOOL DISTRICT 135
CONSOLIDATED HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT 230 (Orland, Tinley, Palos)
PALOS COMM CONS SCHOOL DIST 118
PALOS HEIGHTS SCHOOL DIST 128
REAVIS TWP H S DIST 220 BURBANK STICKNEY
SUMMIT SCHOOL DIST 104
TINLEY PARK COMM SCH DIST 146
The compromise plan was approved by the Illinois House on Monday and was expected to be adopted by the Illinois Senate the following day
Chicago’s leadership made another major concessions to suburban and downstate legislators, in addition to cutting back the additional funds that were being allocated to Chicago. The new plan also allows individuals who donate up to $1 million to private school scholarships to deduct 75 percent of the donation from their state taxes.
The plan helps parents of private schools pay for their childrens’ education. Taxpayers who send their children to private schools, such as Catholic schools, still are required to pay their share of property taxes for local public schools.
It’s a small benefit that Chicago public school activists have consistently opposed, calling it a new form of a voucher, but Parochial school leaders like Cardinal Blase Cupich of the Archdiocese of Chicago, lobbied for the credit saying it was a fair way to balance the dual burden placed on parochial school parents.
Students receiving the scholarships must have a total household income of less than $73,000 annually for a family of four (300 percent of the federal poverty level).
The Republican leadership embraced the compromise plan, issuing this statement:
“Gov. Bruce Rauner’s plan to reform the school funding formula would send more money to the neediest school districts in Illinois. The Illinois State Board of Education conducted an analysis which was released on Aug. 12. The analysis found that 97.5 percent of the 852 school districts in Illinois receive more state funding under the governor’s plan compared to Senate Bill 1, as written. Under the governor’s plan, no school district would receive less funding this upcoming school year than it received last year.”
House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) and Senate Republican Leader-designee Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) today released the following statement on school funding reform negotiations:
“This afternoon the four legislative leaders and the governor reached an agreement in principle on historic school funding reform. Language will be drafted and details of the agreement released once the drafts have been reviewed. The leaders will reconvene in Springfield on Sunday in anticipation of House action on Monday.”
Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan called the plan a “compromise.” He said legislators might not agree with everything in it.
“Today we saw compromise. Instead of pitting children and communities against each other, Democrats and Republicans came to an agreement on much of what’s in this bill. And even where we don’t fully agree, we’re willing to work together in good faith and meet each other half way,” Madigan said.
“This bill provides the same promise of permanent funding for our schools as Senate Bill 1, with some additional items included at the request of Republicans. Even if all members did not agree with 100 percent of what is in the final bill, this bill still delivers 100 percent of what schools throughout Illinois need. This bill is a permanent promise of more funding for schools statewide. Every district in Illinois wins under this plan.
“Through compromise, we’ve included some provisions that many members would not have supported on their own. But a package that permanently provides more money for Illinois schools and puts us closer than ever to fixing Illinois’ broken school funding system is too important to let partisan differences get in the way.”
The Chicago Teachers Union released this statement:
“Tonight’s vote for a voucher scheme for the state of Illinois is disappointing, and the worst assault on public education since mayoral control of schools was granted in 1995. We are now firmly in line with the President Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos privatization agenda. Illinois legislators have voted to ‘reform’ the worst school funding system in the country with a ticking time bomb of a voucher scheme, and the Illinois Democratic Party has crossed a line which no spin or talk of ‘compromise’ can ever erase. The Illinois Senate votes tomorrow. We urge them to reject vouchers and keep public funds for public schools, and not a tax break for the wealthy.”
Illinois Network of Charter Schools President Andrew Broy released this statement:
“The Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) applauds the Illinois House of Representatives for doing the right thing and passing a bill that provides fair funding for children across the state-whether they live in Champaign, Collinsville, or Chicago. INCS has always supported a funding system that more accurately reflects actual need and allocates additional funding for low-income districts, which is what this bill does. We look forward to the Senate following suit, and Governor Rauner signing this historic legislation that will give all children the resources they deserve to be successful in the classroom.”
The Illinois Federation of Teachers released this statement:
“Tonight, state legislators moved Illinois closer to doing what we have needed to do for decades – treat our poorest students and communities fairly. Unfortunately, it came at a very disappointing cost. Governor Rauner capitalized on the crisis he created when he vetoed the original bill and used it as leverage for private school tax credits that benefit the wealthy while working families continue to struggle. We’re on a better path toward equity and adequacy, and we must move forward in our classrooms and communities. But it’s clearer than ever that this Governor does not prioritize public schools, and we must fight for one who does in 2018.”
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Hanania writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com, and at www.TheArabDailyNews.com, www.TheDailyHookah.com and at SuburbanChicagoland.com. He has also published weekly columns in the Jerusalem Post newspaper, YNetNews.com, Newsday Newspaper in New York, the Orlando Sentinel Newspapers, and the Arlington Heights Daily Herald.
Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media. In 2009, Hanania received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. He was honored for his writing skills with two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild. In 1990, Hanania was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times editors for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.
His writings have also been honored by two national Awards from ADC for his writing, and from the National Arab American Journalists Association.
The managing editor of Suburban Chicagoland Online News website www.SuburbanChicagoland.com, Hanania's columns also appear in the Southwest News Newspaper Group of 8 newspapers.
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