It’s time to fully fund our schools. Enough is enough.
For the past seven years, the Chicago Machine has put into law budgets that severely underfunded our schools. In fact, for several years, schools received as low as 87% of what was rightfully owed to them. That proration has put a strain on some of our school districts, our teachers and staff, and our students.
That’s why it was refreshing to hear Governor Rauner call for fully funding the Foundation Level during his Budget Address earlier this month. This means giving schools 100% of their share of General State Aid, the largest source of state funding for school districts. We need a stand-alone, clean piece of legislation that fully funds general state aid for K-12 education at 100%. The Governor said he will sign it.
Think about what that will mean for your school district. For our students. For your children.
In my short time in the Senate, this issue has been a top priority of mine. I have co-sponsored legislation to fully fund the education formula. It should be pretty simple to give schools and our students what they deserve. So simple, you would have thought it would have been a slam dunk, an easy piece of legislation to pass. But when the Chicago Machine is running things in Springfield, nothing is easy. The legislation went nowhere.
Considering it has been seven years since we fully funded the Foundation Level, let’s get this done now.
It’s also critical we offer our school districts some mandate relief. All too often, school districts are being forced to pick up the costs of new laws that are created in Springfield.
When I speak to superintendents and principals, unfunded mandates are one of the biggest issues I hear about. There have been several proposals that would provide unfunded mandate relief for Illinois schools. Most recently, legislation was introduced that would save Illinois public schools more than $200 million.
We all know how high our property taxes are. These unfunded mandates and the lack of funding from Springfield to our schools both play a big role in our sky high property tax rates.
The Chicago Machine has wreaked havoc long enough. Fully funding schools. Offering schools mandate relief. Two common sense proposals. Two things both parties should get behind.
Enough is enough.
– State Sen. Sue Rezin