State Sen. Karen McConnaughay, R-St. Charles, issued the following press release:
State Sen. Karen McConnaughay, R-St. Charles, says that after months of hearing Chicago Democrats claim suburban schools are receiving a “free lunch” on pension funding, she and her fellow Republican senators are going to set the record straight.
McConnaughay weighed in on the matter saying, “We have an overly complicated funding formula that appears fair on the surface but when you really look deeper there are gross inequalities.” According to the Senate Republicans analysis when you add up all the component parts of state education funding, including the General State Aid for Education budget, the Corporate Personal Property Replacement Grant, special education grants and early childhood education grants, Chicago receives $2,223 in “free lunch” per student while downstate students only receives $67 per student.
This analysis went on to raise important questions about how the state distributes its education dollars. With a growing public support for state government to be transparent, Senator McConnaughay expressed support of such measures. “We need greater transparency and I believe there are duel benefits, accountability on our end and more efficient services being delivered to the public. There is no reason why these principles cannot be implemented in Springfield.”
This discussion has risen over the political contentious issue of “cost shift” proposals as a means of pension reform. Some Illinois lawmakers have suggested downstate teacher and university pension costs be shifted away from the state and towards schools, with opponents fearing a significant increase in property taxes.
Said McConnaughay, “This is not about any one particular region of the state, this is about doing right by our children and the future of Illinois. We must work together to create a fair and transparent system to all students in the state.”