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McConnaughay: Schools stand to lose millions under proposed bill

Published: Friday, July 4, 2014 11:37 p.m. CST

State Sen. Karen McConnaughay is concerned that a senate bill designed to overhaul education funding would result in placing more of a burden on taxpayers.

Senate Bill 16 – also known as the School Funding Reform Act of 2014 – stemmed from the findings of the Education Funding Advisory Committee, which was tasked with proposing a funding system providing adequate, equitable, transparent and accountable distribution of funds to school districts, according to the Illinois State Board of Education.

Although the committee is bipartisan, McConnaughay, R-St. Charles, said the bill was drafted without any input from Republicans.

In a meeting this week with the Kane County Chronicle, McConnaughay outlined the financial ramifications the bill would have on suburban school districts.

The collar counties – which received nearly $969 million in state distributions for fiscal 2013 – would get about $886,416,503 under Senate Bill 16, a loss of about $82.5 million.

Of the 143 districts in the collar counties, 21 would gain distributions, and 122 would not.

Locally, Geneva School District 304 would lose about $3.9 million compared to 2013, bringing its total state funding to $989,740, and St. Charles School District 303 would take a nearly $8 million hit, bringing its total to about $2.2 million, according to information McConnaughay provided.

Noting that 2010 data shows Geneva is about 90 percent locally funded, McConnaughay said the consequences of Senate Bill 16 would result in a nearly 100 percent local funding burden.

Continuing to cut dollars from school districts is making it harder for senior citizens and young families to live in these communities and makes Illinois unattractive to businesses, McConnaughay said.

If local resources are expected to fully fund schools, McConnaughay said, "then remove the mandates off of us."

McConnaughay said the bill in its current form might not go anywhere, but the approach it uses likely will be more long-lasting.

On the Web

Search SB16 at www.ilga.gov for the full text of Senate Bill 16, also known as the School Funding Reform Act of 2014.

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