Online Staff Report
A controversial rewrite of the state’s system of funding schools would dramatically cut state aid to many local schools in the 45th Senate District, according to State Sen. Tim Bivins, R-Dixon.
Passed by a 32-19-6 vote of the Senate Tuesday, May 27, Senate Bill 16 would cut state funding for 20 local school districts and increase state funding for 22 other local school districts, for a net overall state funding gain of $3,702,203. Bivins voted against the measure.
“Senate Bill 16 is an elaborate reshuffling of state aid for our schools through an overly complicated formula,” Bivins said. “It pits schools against one another, taking money away from some school districts and sending it to others. Despite the fact that some of the local schools in northwestern Illinois would receive more money, I cannot support a measure that robs Peter to pay Paul.”
Bivins said Senate Bill 16 started as a bipartisan effort to address inequities in the state’s school-aid formula, but the legislation has quickly morphed into a partisan plan that could exacerbate existing inequities in funding and force taxpayers statewide to subsidize pension payments for Chicago teachers.
“I have concerns about the way this bill was pushed through the Senate with such limited discussion and debate. For instance, the sponsor removed an amendment that addresses the important issue of allowing school districts to opt out of unfunded mandates,” he added. “He then states that ‘the bill is not done yet.’ So are we supposed to pass it anyway? Why not get it right the first time? Why are they rushing such a complex bill through in the last few days of session if it is ‘not done yet’?”
Senate Bill 16 now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration.