Rauner to release education budget details Tuesday
Gov. Bruce Rauner is releasing numbers Tuesday showing how individual school districts would do under his education funding plan as he continues to push lawmakers to approve it despite the ongoing state budget battle.
Rauner has called for adding $55 million to the state's general school payments, eliminating a series of cuts from previous years known as proration. That's in addition to $75 million more that would be spent for early childhood programs.
Education Secretary Beth Purvis says releasing the numbers is part of the effort to show lawmakers school districts would fare better under the governor's plan.
"If this budget hits his desk, he will sign it," Purvis said.
The data compiled by the Illinois State Board of Education shows big gains in some districts and losses in some others. Purvis says schools' state funding changes every year based on local property values, enrollment and the number of children in poverty.
But, she said, even the districts set to lose money would do worse under the proration system that's been in place for several years.
Among the biggest winners in Rauner's general aid numbers: $5.9 million more for Carpentersville-based Community Unit District 300, about $3.6 million more for Elgin Area District U-46 and $2.2 million more for Aurora East District 131 in the next fiscal year.
A few others each would see more than a million dollars more, including districts in Antioch, Grayslake, Huntley, Wauconda and Waukegan.
Among the districts that would lose money next year under Rauner's proposal: Indian Prairie District 204 would get about $973,000 less. Addison District 4 and North Chicago District 187 would each see a drop of more than $600,000.
Most districts' funding would swing far less drastically.
|View our searchable, sortable list: Click here to see how Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed spending plan would affect your school district.|
Though the state's historically long budget stalemate is ongoing, Rauner signed Democrats' education budget last year, avoiding questions over the summer about whether schools would open in the fall.
But higher education spending remains unresolved, and two suburban community colleges have announced layoffs in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, state Sen. Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat, last week unveiled a new plan meant to send more state money to less wealthy districts. In contrast to some previous versions, it would prevent school districts from losing money for the first year.
It's part of an ongoing push to try to equalize school funding in Illinois. Allison Holloway, a senior at Larkin High School in Elgin, appeared with Manar to talk about the plan last week.
"Do students in my neighborhood deserve less than what they need?" she said.
Republicans have said the state should get out of its ongoing budget crisis and approve Rauner's schools budget plan before making more sweeping changes. Numbers on Manar's plan haven't yet been released.
"We really can't endorse it or say a lot about it until we see the numbers," Purvis said.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Michael Madigan has proposed a constitutional amendment to strengthen the state's obligation to fund public education.
The Chicago Democrat's legislation declares that education is a fundamental "right" -- as opposed to "goal" -- and that the state has the "preponderant financial responsibility" for funding schools.
If the House and Senate approve, the amendment would be on November's ballot. Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said the Constitution is clear that the state should be the "primary" financial source, but that the language of the proposed amendment makes it abundantly clear.
• Daily Herald news services contributed to this report.