Lake Zurich Unit District 95 critical of proposal to redistribute state education funding

  • Doug Goldberg

    Doug Goldberg

  • Michael Egan

    Michael Egan

Posted10/30/2014 5:30 AM

Concerned about the possible loss of $3 million annually, Lake Zurich Unit District 95 wants residents to encourage lawmakers to oppose a proposal that would change how the state funds schools.

What's led some suburban school administrators and board members to sound the alarm is Senate Bill 16. Under the proposal, an attempt would be made to reduce disparities among Illinois schools by funneling more state money to poorer districts at the expense of wealthier ones.


District 95 board member Doug Goldberg labeled Senate Bill 16 as "sad" and a "travesty" during a meeting last week.

"Let's make no mistake," Goldberg said. "This is a clear example of the redistribution of wealth. This is the socialization of America at the state level. (That's) exactly what this is."

Although the Illinois Senate passed the measure, it still must move through the House. The issue may be addressed when the General Assembly reconvenes for the fall veto session late next month or in the spring.

Last week, the District 95 board agreed to spread the word about Senate Bill 16 and the potential loss of 75 percent, or $3 million, in annual state funding that partially reimburses expenses such as special education teachers and student transportation. A letter regarding the bill is on District 95's main Web page and is expected to be in Superintendent Michael Egan's next parent newsletter.

District 95's letter says the full $3 million reduction in state funding would occur after the shift is phased in over four years.

"And without your voice to tell your House representative to vote no, District 95's funding will be taken away in the amount of millions of dollars," the letter states. "This will directly impact students, staff and the resources we are able to provide the children we serve to educate."

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Egan brought the idea of calling attention to Senate Bill 16 to the school board. The letter also states Senate Bill 16 could result in higher property taxes for some suburban residents because the proposal would "radically redistribute education money" statewide.

"It (the bill) is on the table and we need to look at it," Egan said.

Meanwhile, a forum about Senate Bill 16 will be co-hosted Thursday by Schaumburg Township Elementary District 54, Palatine Elementary District 15 and Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211. The informational meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at Schaumburg High School, 1100 W. Schaumburg Road.

If the proposal in its current form became law, District 54 would lose an estimated $12.5 million in state funding annually. The yearly projections are $11 million for District 15 and $8 million for District 211.

Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 will host a forum on Senate Bill 16 at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13. It'll be at Hubble Middle School, 35600 Herrick Road in Warrenville.

District 200 administrators calculate the system would lose $9.8 million in yearly state funding. Spokeswoman Erica Loiacono has said such a financial loss would be "devastating" to District 200.

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