GLEN ELLYN – The superintendent of Glenbard Township High School District 87 is expressing mixed feelings about a school funding plan that state lawmakers recently approved.
The House approved the compromise legislation Aug. 28 by a vote of 73-34 after failing to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1. The Senate then approved the bill Aug. 29.
"We are grateful that state lawmakers have addressed education funding reform in this historic legislation," District 87 Superintendent David Larson said in a statement. "There are so many Illinois school districts that are not adequately funded, and the new evidence-based school funding model is a sound, long-term answer to having adequate and equitable school funding throughout the state."
However, he voiced concerns about the tax-credit scholarships and voter-initiated property tax referendum that are included in the legislation.
"We agree with the Illinois Association of School Administrators’ position that tax-credit scholarships and a voter initiated property tax referendum are not good policy for public schools and could prove harmful to public schools," Larson said.
The district does not know yet how it will be impacted by the legislation.
"We have not analyzed the impact of the legislation yet, but we are eager to evaluate how it will affect our schools and community," Larson said. "We’re also eager to see the flow of much needed state funding to schools in our community and throughout the state."
Officials from other school districts such as Glen Ellyn School District 41 and Wheaton Warrenville Community Unit School District 200 said they are holding off commenting about the legislation until more details are known and Gov. Bruce Rauner signs the bill. The governor has voiced support for the legislation, but as of press time, he hadn't signed it.
“Our leaders worked together to provide school choice protection for parents who want the best education possible for their children," Rauner said in a statement following the Senate vote. "This is accomplished by ensuring that district-authorized charter schools receive equal funding, and by providing families with limited financial resources the same access to private schools. The Tax Credit Scholarship program encourages individuals and businesses to enable families to choose the school that best meets the needs of their children."
Rauner also said the legislation provides mandate relief for school districts and presents avenues for property tax relief.
"School districts will be given flexibility in how they schedule physical education curriculum and how they administer driver’s education curriculum," Rauner said. "In more affluent school districts, this bill provides taxpayers with a chance to lower their property taxes through the referendum process."