School funding formula could leave schools vulnerable to funding cuts
Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) views the new school spending formula as an act purely driven by partisanship.
“It is a complete bailout for Chicago and the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system,” Ives told the DuPage Policy Journal. “Depending on whose numbers you believe, they’re getting up to $22,000 per kid and they’re really not being smart about the way it’s being used.”
Other critics charge the so-called evidence-based school funding plan passed in 2017 amounts to nothing more than a scheme authored and driven by union leaders as a way of peeling off more tax dollars.
While Ives concedes that the plan designed to provide more funding to poorer districts will help some schools get more of the resources needed, she laments the changes will leave more schools outside the city’s reach in as much financial peril as they’ve ever faced.
“This big bill will assure that more money is now being spent, but the thing is much of it is not being done correctly,” she said. “This funding formula is more about money and less about output.”
Eighteen school districts spread across the suburbs are now potentially facing tax-cutting referendums because the state formula has stamped them above the levels of "adequacy" as it relates to school funding, according to an editorial in the Daily-Herald.
Much of the language for the new school funding formula was created by Ralph Martire, a longtime lobbyist for teacher’s unions across the state from River Forest, the West Cook News reported.
Head of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (CTBA) advocacy group funded by the largest public employee unions in Illinois, Martire’s plan pushed for money coming from Springfield to be allocated based on hiring and spending criteria mandated by the state.
Electing not to raise taxes to meet newly established spending guidelines for public schools could result in an institution being denied their share of matching state school funds, according to the West Cook News.
Ives has long voiced concerns about the plan being out of balance based on Chicago’s history of concealing its wealth by undervaluing some of its largest commercial properties.
“They hide it in TIF’s (Tax Increment Financing) to the tune of about $6 billion,” she recently wrote in a blog on her website. “Yet, last year CPS was able to access $90 million of that TIF money. They have the money to fund their schools, but they want the rest of us to pay first.”
Currently, state taxpayers are forced to shell out more in public school funding than all other state government functions combined, West Cook News states.