Rezin legislation guarantees schools open in fall despite budget impasse

State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Peru) is a chief co-sponsor of legislation (SB 3434) that would fully fund K-12 education, something that hasn’t occurred in seven years, while also ensuring no school district loses money through a hold harmless provision.

She is urging swift passage before the new fiscal year begins July 1.

“We must give certainty to our students and schools across the state by passing a K-12 education budget now,” Rezin said. “This legislation not only makes sure schools can plan for next school year and open on time, but it makes every student a priority and makes sure every school district doesn’t lose a dime next year. This legislation accomplishes what we all believe in, that educating our children must be a top priority.”

Under Rezin’s legislation, the foundation level would fully fund every student and end the practice of proration. For the past seven years, the Democrat legislature has put into law budgets that severely underfunded schools. For several years, schools received as low as 87% of what was rightfully owed to them.

“This proration is putting a serious strain on so many of our school districts, our teachers and staff, and our students,” Rezin said. “It’s the number one issue I hear from superintendents. Every student deserves what Springfield promises. This keeps that promise.”

Rezin’s legislation also ensures every school district will not lose money next school year, compared to what they received during their 2015-2016 school year. Rezin says this hold harmless provision helps school districts that will see a drop in enrollment by keeping their funding level.

“In my short time in the Senate, education funding has been a top priority of mine,” Rezin said. “This is a good solution that helps every school and every student. It doesn’t pick winners and losers, it doesn’t bailout the Chicago Public Schools at the expense of downstate students, and it’s something the education community supports. While we continue to work on a fair, balanced approach to the way the state funds each school district, something we all agree needs to be changed, this legislation gives critical funding and that much-needed certainty to schools, now. Let’s get this done. Our kids deserve the most from Springfield.”

Rezin’s legislation increases state funding for K-12 education by $227 million and includes $1.8 million for agriculture education.

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