August 25, 2017
Bonnie Cox, LWVIL President
Hilary Denk, Vice President, Issues
Heather Cunningham, LWVIL Issues Chairs
Claire McIntyre and Jean Pierce, Education Funding Issues Specialists
The vote to override the Governor's Amendatory Veto on SB1 has been postponed until Monday, August 28
At this time, the four legislative leaders are meeting to negotiate an acceptable solution.
Please contact your State Senator and Representative in their Springfield offices and tell them that there are certain concessions which cannot be part of the school funding agreement. Find contact information at http://openstates.org/find_your_legislator/
The League of Women Voters of Illinois supports a negotiated settlement as the state has already missed two scheduled payments to its school districts. There are several points that we believe are not acceptable as part of any compromise:
- A tax credit voucher plan
- Requiring schools to report TIF (tax-increment financing) districts as local wealth
- Removing adjustment protection for school districts in areas subject to the Property Tax Limitation Law.
- A property tax freeze.
- A pension shift to local districts without adequate protections.
WHY IT MATTERS
- A tax credit voucher plan is not acceptable. One of the proposals on the table is a tax credit program to allow parents to send their children to religious or other private schools of their choice or to a public school outside of their district. This tax credit program can increase at the rate of 25% every year, taking money from the General Fund that could go to funding public schools or human services.
- The League opposes the Governor's plan to require schools to report TIF districts as local wealth. Schools have no access to TIF money, which is most often earmarked by local taxing bodies for economic development. As state funding goes down as local share increases, having to report income not available to them will reduce state funding available to districts and undermines SB1's goal to get every district to adequate funding.
- The League finds unacceptable that the Governor's AV also removes the adjustment protection for school districts in areas subject to the Property Tax Limitation Law, acting as if this limitation does not exist. As with TIF, it makes the district appear to have access to more local resources available to them than they do.
- The League opposes the inclusion of a 2 year property tax freeze. The AV already actively counters property tax reduction by reducing state funding in TIF and PTELL- subjected districts. As state funding goes down, districts must raise property taxes to counter the effects of those cuts. A property tax freeze, problematic for most districts, becomes particularly onerous for those districts subject to PTELL and TIF. For all districts, a freeze, without provision for replacement revenue from the state, would effectively be a massive funding cut for K-12 education in Illinois.
- The League opposes a pension shift to local districts without adequate protections. The AV eliminates the normal cost pension protections contained in SB1. Over time, this will require school districts to utilize local resources to cover pension costs rather than educate children.
- While there are other problems the Governor's amendatory veto would cause, including a reduction over time to those districts that most heavily rely on state aid, we have identified these five as the most problematic and unacceptable.