Aug. 29, 2017
This week the House and Senate passed school funding formula legislation that was both productive and counterproductive. After so much focus on SB 1, sponsored by Senator Andy Manar and Representative Will Davis, it was ultimately a compromise bill that became the school funding bill. IEA supported the SB 1 version of the bill.
Over the weekend, the legislative leaders and the governor developed a compromise bill, SB 1947, which included most of the original provisions of SB 1, but included proposals we have fought against over the past few legislative sessions. IEA opposed the bill. More specifically, the proposal creates:
- A tax credit created to incentivize donations for private school scholarships. Individuals would receive a 75 percent tax credit for each dollar donated. The voucher plan awards $75 million in scholarships. The plan would operate as a pilot for five years, then sunset.
- Allows school districts to reduce daily P.E. to not less than three days a week. Individual students in grades 7-10 will be able to seek an exemption from P.E. if they are involved in athletics.
- Allows school districts to use a third party to provide drivers’ education without going through the waiver process.
Other notable changes:
- Keeps the minimum funding level at $350 million, but allows up to $50 million in property tax swap funds to count toward this amount in tandem with evidence-based model funding.
- Chicago Public Schools’ (CPS) normal pension costs will be moved out of the education formula and into the pension code.
- Allows property tax reduction by referendum if 10 percent of registered voters sign a petition. The school districts’ educational tax levy can be reduced by up to 10 percent if the district is above 110 percent adequacy.
The measure was passed with necessary votes, 73 in the House and 38 in the Senate. The governor is expected to sign the bill.
The IEA will be working to educate communities and families on how to minimize the negative impact these provisions could have on their communities.