Senate Bill 1, the reintroduced version of last year’s Senate Bill 16, keeps much of the same language but introduces a new formula to fund education throughout the state, cutting from higher income school districts, and redistributing to those with lower incomes.
Local school leaders in District 203 and 204 are united against the bill due to
the financial loss for their schools.
“We would lose 5.8 million, in the scheme of things relative to some of the other suburban districts we ended up a little better under senate bill 1 but 5.8 is still a significant cut for us and after having cut what we’ve done in the last several years because of decreases in state funding’s for schools it would still be very devastating for us,” said Dr. Karen Sullivan, Superintendent of Indian Prairie School District 204.
And in District 203 they’ll be seeing an even bigger hit, with a loss of about $9.6 million. That’s a 78% loss of state revenue and would be the 2nd or 3rd largest reduction in the state.
“I can’t support Senate Bill 1, I think it’s an incomplete attempt to try to restructure school funding in the state of Illinois, I agree that our funding formula and our funding system for education in our state needs to be reexamined and it needs to be replaced in a different way,” said Dan Bridges, Superintendent of Naperville Community School Unit District 203.
If Senate Bill 1 does pass, it could also trigger a pension cost shift as early as fiscal year 2016, taking away dollars from administrative salaries, stipends and extended contracts.
To prepare for the possible cuts, both districts have started to reduce their spending while generating lists of proposed reductions.
“We’ve done a lot of the easy and the not so easy budget cuts previously, we are working now with an operations and maintenance budget that doesn’t really meet our needs because that’s a part that cut dollars instead of things in the classroom,” said Sullivan.
“We did look at the discretionary spending that we do make and reduced our expenditures so we’ve really taken a conservative approach to think about our expenditures,” said Bridges.
Both districts will continue to monitor this bill and urge the community to reach out to their representatives with concerns.
There is still no timeline as to when Senate Bill 1 will be called for a vote.
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