Parkhurst: Rauner education plan much more equitable than Senate measure
Rep. Lindsay Parkhurst (R-Kankakee) wants her constituents to see for themselves the difference between how Senate Bill 1 would fund Illinois public schools and how Gov. Rauner’s alternative plan would work.
In a Facebook post, Parkhurst invited constituents to view a breakdown of the funding districts would receive under both proposals. The SB1 figures show what districts would receive with Chicago Public Schools getting its tier funding, pension funding and the portion of its block grant that it would retain under the bill. The governor’s plan would maintain the same CPS tier funding and pension funding but redistribute all of the CPS block grant funding throughout the state’s districts.
“SB 1 fails our schools and gives Chicago an unfair share of school funding at the expense of all the other school districts,” Parkhurst wrote on her Facebook page. "Let's fix school funding and give all our school districts the funding they need to ensure students get the education they deserve.”
According to an Illinois Policy Institute analysis of SB1, $215 million would go annually to Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to support the district’s pension and health care costs. The institute calls it a pension bailout, noting that the district has a history of poor management, including a 10-year stretch beginning in the 1990s during which the system failed to make its pension payments. A Chicago Sun Times report on the bill notes that CPS is currently the only school district in the state that does not receive state funding for its pension contributions.
According to the data, Kankakee County’s 12 school districts stand to receive an additional $2.379 million under the governor’s plan. Kankakee School District 111 would benefit the most, receiving an additional $1.053 million, while Grant Park C U School District 6, serving Grant Park Residents, would receive the smallest, at $9,430. The median state funding increase for Kankakee County school districts under the plan would be $56,806.
In its analysis of SB1, the policy institute, which is staunchly against SB1, criticizes the measure for propping up CPS without forcing the district to put any reforms in place to address the factors that contributed to its debt. It also argues that the bill would provide more funding to schools throughout the state without addressing the factors that see Illinois schools spend more per student than any of its neighboring states. The bill would increase education spending by at least $3.5 billion over the next decade, and potentially up to $6 billion. Instead, the institute advocates changes like pension reforms and school district consolidation that could lead to reduced costs in education.