Sep 15, 2017
School District 21 prides itself on its Professional Learning Community and its rich tradition of professional collaboration, high levels of professional development, and family-like atmosphere. If you see the opportunity to work with colleagues in making a difference in the lives of students and families in a truly diverse setting, School District 21 seeks your application.
Topic: Finance & Policy
Though a state budget was passed in July, funding for schools in Illinois remains unreleased. Funding will not be released until an Evidence Based Funding Formula is enacted.
Senate Bill 1 contains a funding formula passed by both the Illinois Senate and House, but Governor Rauner has issued an amendatory veto to the bill. On Sunday, August 13, the Illinois Senate passed an override of the amendatory veto. On Wednesday, August 16, the Illinois House of Representatives will reconvene to consider an override of Senate Bill 1.
Below is a letter from Dr. Hyland, encouraging the legislators that represent CCSD21 to either override the Governor’s veto or quickly reach new agreement on an Evidence Based Model so that school districts can receive promised state funding.
CCSD21 residents are encouraged to contact Representatives David Harris, Elaine Nekritz, and Carol Sente and advocate for passage of a funding formula.
Dear Illinois Representative,
The first day of school in Community Consolidated School District 21 is Wednesday, August 23. I can say with certainty that in just over a week, our 13 schools will be buzzing with excitement as students and teachers reconnect after a summer away and begin learning together again. I can tell our parents, with certainty, that we will keep our doors open throughout the school year in order to uphold our promise of preparing our students for success. I wish, however, that I could tell our taxpayers that CCSD21 is unaffected by the crisis created in Springfield.
Absent state funding or any other intervention, School District 21 will deplete all available resources and would not be able to operate after November. In order to bridge the gap from the time our funds are depleted until we begin receiving spring property tax receipts, we are taking preliminary steps to issue Tax Anticipation Warrants (TAWs). While we are fortunate to have this tool at our disposal in order to keep our doors open and do the right thing for our students and families, this step is only necessary if the state fails to act. However, in order to cover the state’s funding obligation, our taxpayers will be on the hook for $100,000 in taxes and fees in order to issue $10 million in TAWs. That’s $100,000 pulled from our classrooms because the state it is either unable or unwilling to prioritize our children and their education.
Additionally, CCSD21 is currently owed $1.6 million from last fiscal year. While we appreciate the issuance of third quarter mandated categorical (MCAT) payments last week, outstanding vouchers remain – some of which date back to December 2016. CCSD21 is owed an additional $400,000 in General State Aid that should have been paid on August 10.
The Evidence Based Funding Model presented in Senate Bill 1 has been thoroughly vetted by a wide cross section of education stakeholders since it was first introduced four years ago. It is the most sensible formula to provide school districts with both equitable and adequate funding to meet the needs of diverse learners. The Governor’s amendatory veto single-handedly undoes the thoughtful hard work behind the Evidence Based Model and instead continues to perpetuate a school funding crisis.
I urge you to take one of two courses of action on Wednesday:
Please let me know if I can provide any further details on the impact of state funding (or lack thereof) on CCSD21.
Kate Hyland, Ed.D.