Following the Governor’s press conference announcing he has issued an amendatory veto to Illinois’ school funding bill (Senate Bill 1), Senator Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) released the following statement urging swift action from the General Assembly.
“The Governor’s amendatory veto today makes Senate Bill 1 more fair and equitable to all school Illinois districts, especially those with low-income and disadvantaged students,” said Tracy. “To ensure every child receives a high-quality education, we need a school funding formula that supports every single child in Illinois. As it passed the General Assembly, Senate Bill 1 unfairly distributed additional funding to Chicago, at the expense of downstate students. I care about Chicago, but I also care about the millions of students all across the state not receiving the resources they need. We have clear changes from the Governor and clear instructions. Let’s get back to Springfield and uphold the Governor’s amendatory veto so every school starts the year fully funded.”
The governor’s amendatory veto makes the following changes to ensure an adequate and equitable school funding formula:
- Maintains a per-district hold harmless until the 2020-2021 school year, and then moves to a per-pupil hold harmless based on a three-year rolling average of enrollment.
- Removes the minimum funding requirement. While the governor is committed to ensuring that the legislature satisfies its duty to fund schools, the proposed trigger of one percent of the overall adequacy target plus $93 million artificially inflates the minimum funding number and jeopardizes Tier II funding.
- Removes the Chicago block grant from the funding formula.
- Removes both Chicago Public Schools pension considerations from the formula: the normal cost pick-up and the unfunded liability deduction.
- Reintegrates the normal cost pick-up for Chicago Public Schools into the Pension Code where it belongs, and finally begins to treat Chicago like all other districts with regards to the State’s relationship with its teachers’ pensions.
- Eliminates the PTELL and TIF equalized assessed value subsidies that allow districts to continue under-reporting property wealth.
- Removes the escalators throughout the bill that automatically increase costs.
- Retains the floor for the regionalization factor, for the purposes of equity, and adds a cap, for the purposes of adequacy.
The amendatory veto also removes the accounting for future pension cost shifts to districts in the Adequacy Target. This prevents districts from ever fully taking responsibility for the normal costs of their teachers’ pensions.