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Stop the partisanship on both sides, please

Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014

* Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) held a press conference yesterday to respond to sponsors of a resolution who want to stop his education funding bill from moving forward

The resolution offered this month by Downers Grove Rep. Ron Sandack and co-sponsored by two-fifths of the GOP caucus, along with two Democrats, decries what it says is Sen. Andy Manar’s “piecemeal reallocation” of schoolhouse funding that will cause hundreds of districts “deep budget reductions and financial uncertainty.”

Clearly miffed, Manar fired back on Monday, telling reporters at the state Capitol, “there is a cost to not getting this right in the state budget and it’s severe.” […]

He said the school-aid formula is supposed to adjust for local district wealth but demographic changes now skew it against poor districts.

“Until we get this right and we drive resources to (needy) districts,” Manar said, ” … then we’re never going to get at the root of major cost-drivers in the state budget, which is the correctional system, which is unemployment, which is the Medicaid system.”

* Some video from the Senate Democrats

* Rep. Ron Sandack responded…

“Senator Manar has accused me and the other co-sponsors of House Resolution 1276 of trying to halt discussions into the need for education reform. My colleagues and I have done no such thing. We have simply sounded the alarm that SB16 is being talked about in closed door meetings, and have let Illinois taxpayers know that the bill, as written and approved in the Senate, would cause a great deal of financial harm to hundreds of school districts.

“Our resolution urges the General Assembly to cease in their efforts to pass SB16 because it does not solve problems with the education funding formula; it simply creates a new list of funding winners and losers.

“During his remarks, Senator Manar himself admitted that SB16 still needs work. Why would any legislator knowingly approve a bad bill? This ‘pass it now and we’ll fix it later’ mentality is dangerous and it’s how bad bills end up becoming bad laws in our state.

“The Senator certainly looked agitated and bothered as he was taking his personal shots at me and my House Resolution this morning. But we suburban legislators are taking all of this very personally. He is taking aim at our schools and defunding them.

“Had he read HR1276, Senator Manar would have seen clear language promoting a thoughtful and thorough process for complete education funding reform. My public statements regarding the dangers of SB16 have always included references to the need for comprehensive reforms so that all students across the state can be college and career ready.

“The Senator spoke at length about the bipartisan process that led to the creation of the Education Funding Advisory Committee’s report. But activity over the summer has been completely partisan. Republicans only learned of the SB16 meetings from education advocacy groups who alerted us to the fact that the meetings were taking place. Senator Manar’s claims that the process remains bipartisan are completely false.

“During his remarks, Senator Manar, a Democrat, said that school funding proration has been devastating to Illinois schools, yet he takes no responsibility for the fact that the Democrats are the ones who have created budgets that have cut education spending by more than $600 million since 2009. Simply making wise financial decisions that start with funding education at 100% would go far in addressing many schools’ struggles.

“I invite Senator Manar to dispense with the angry partisan bickering and secret Democrats-only meetings and engage in a full and open discussion about education funding reform. We need to bring all stakeholders to the table and talk outside of the parameters of SB 16, which directly threatens suburban schools.”

First he denies that he’s trying to hold up talks, then he admits it: “Our resolution urges the General Assembly to cease in their efforts to pass SB16…”

Plus, the bill isn’t ready yet. There are still discussions going on.

And the $600 million cut? C’mon. Only if you think that Democrats “cut” the federal stimulus money. And if you include pension contributions, it’s way up.

Should the Republicans be included in these talks? Sure they should. It’s a mistake to keep them out, unless all they want to do is score political points.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 1:04 pm:

    Manar and Sandack are both two of the more practical individuals in each party. If they allow this to become personal or partisan, Manar’s reform plan is going to blow up.

    This is clearly not a typical partisan issue, as discussed here last week. If you are from an area who has money being “taken” from them, your voters will vigorously oppose this. If you are from an area who has money being “given” to them, your voters will support this.

    It is not hard to understand. Mr. Manar is smart, and he understood those dynamics before even finishing his first draft of the bill.

    If they find the money to increase funding to particular school districts without taking funding from others, this will pass by a large margin. If they do not, it may be a dogfight.

  2. - Bill White - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 1:09 pm:

    Community High School District 99 is located within Representative Sandack’s District. Their statement on SB16 included this passage:

    == SB 16 is modeled after an effort in Massachusetts. Their General Assembly provided $1 billion in new money. There is no new money in SB16. This legislation is a redistribution of current resources.

    We believe the solution is not to take from some to give to others, but rather for the State of Illinois to fully fund education, rather than ranking 50th in the nation in education funding. ==

    If the sponsors of HR1276 are interested in negotiating rather than obstructing, they should amend HR1276 to call for the restoration of the funding that has been lost over the last several years.

    SB16 is unacceptable “as is” however the status quo also is unacceptable and the challenge of SB16 cannot be met if it remains a zero sum scenario where some districts win and other districts lose.

  3. - Bill White - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 1:10 pm:

    == If they find the money to increase funding to particular school districts without taking funding from others, this will pass by a large margin. ==

    Exactly right

  4. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 1:11 pm:

    We know what happens when one single party takes over the entire legislative process and forces through a bill into law without compromise or without any needed discussions.

    The law fails and everyone loses. We lose not only the time the single party shut down the process, we lose time during which the law is exposed as unworkable. The law will damage, not help. The law will fragment, not unite.

    We need bipartisan solutions in Illinois. We’ve seen how badly things get when one party shuts out the other. It is time to stop the partisanship.

    Open the gates and welcome the barbarians. Maybe they aren’t barbarians at all. I’m a bit tired of the same folks claiming to be open minded, completely shutting down anything that challenges their minds.

  5. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 1:17 pm:

    == SB16 is unacceptable “as is” however the status quo also is unacceptable and the challenge of SB16 cannot be met if it remains a zero sum scenario where some districts win and other districts lose ==

    Also exactly right, Bill White.

  6. - Louis G Atsaves - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 1:21 pm:

    Sandack is right. The controlling political party holding secret meetings on this topic is poisonous to resolving this issue. Who will in the affected school districts understand that their state representative was shut out of negotiations about this bill? But keeping Republicans out of the discussion seems more important right now than fixing the school funding formula.


  7. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 1:25 pm:

    I don’t think I’ve ever heard before about a “resolution” to stop efforts to pass a bill.

    Don’t you just vote against the bill, if you don’t like it?

  8. - Coach - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 1:26 pm:

    If the tax rate doesn’t stay the same and ever falls to 3.7% then the schools of this state will take the major hit! They will receive about 70% to 75% of their money and we will see schools drop like flies unfortunately!

  9. - anon - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 1:33 pm:

    First, I don’t think the Dems are holding “secret meetings.” Members of the caucus are meeting to discuss the bill and learn about the issues. The GOP does that all the time, on every single issue. If the GOP opens up their meetings, the Dems should open theirs. Until then, everyone take a breath, put on your big boy pants, and learn about the issue.

  10. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 1:36 pm:


    The only thing that is pathetic here is your comment.

    SB16 isn’t a secret. You and anybody else who wants to can read it. And those legislators that don’t like it or want it changed can introduce amendments to do so.

    Besides, I get so sick and tired of this whining about not being included. Boo hoo for you. Don’t vote for the bill if you don’t like it. I’m sure if Rep Sandack went to Sen. Manar and asked to be included he’d do it. I’ve never known Sen. Manar to be overly partisan.

    And if you have a freaking clue you would also know that Sen. Manar is very serious about education funding.

  11. - Michelle Flaherty - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 1:36 pm:

    Pay per view debate between Manar and Sandack. Proceeds go to restore education funding.
    I’ll take Manar and the spread.

  12. - Galahad - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 1:44 pm:

    == I don’t think I’ve ever heard before about a “resolution” to stop efforts to pass a bill. Don’t you just vote against the bill, if you don’t like it? ==

    Sandack is facing an opponent in November, so this is pure political theater intended to establish himself as a concerned leader who will go to the mat to defend our local schools. Meanwhile he’s also backing Rauner’s property tax freeze, which would take another big bite out of school budgets. It will be fun to see if his constituents bother to connect the dots.

  13. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 1:47 pm:

    I do not like the bill in it’s current form, there are some outlier issues that have a significant impact and need to be addressed (”poor” districts receiving majority funding from the state that are running large annual surpluses with current reduction). The comments about exclusion and Manar are erroneous, based on facts. Manar was part of a bi-partisan Senate/House Committee created to examine the issue. SB 16 was developed out of that committees work, although Senate Republicans (at least one so maybe that should be singular) claim to be left out of the final outcome. Madigan chose NOT to send members of the House to the committee (I belive the speaker was responsible for appointing committee members but could be wrong). Madigan is holding meetings, mainly of house democrats. Either way, Manar did try to work with GOP members to some degree, which is better than I can say for Madigan. Even if I disagree with his bill (currently) I applaud the effort by Manar.

  14. - DuPage Bard - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 1:52 pm:

    Sadly Rep Sandack has made this a partisan issue. All House candidates in DuPage are making this an entirely partisan issue and are starting with that attack at the doors.
    Rep Sandack was very smart in jumping first to distract and move the real conversation of an antiquated formula to the now hyper-partisan rhetoric. Thereby avoiding the conversation of real reform all together.

  15. - Tom Joad - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 1:52 pm:

    For years the education budget has included hold harmless clauses for schools throughout Illinois. The idea that no one should have their prior years budget reduced ignores the roll back of the income tax increase coming in January. Those richer school districts who have millions in surplus should be first to have their budgets reduced. In return, smaller school districts should be given incentives to merge in order to spread the available funds to cover more students. Members of the legislature also represent the State of Illinois, not just the district they represent.

  16. - Walter Mitty - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 1:53 pm:

    Demoralized… I think both Senators are serious about funding. The fact is, Manar’s bill creates winners and losers. All of the “losers” have read the bill. And are trying to make any sense of it. If someone in Downers Grove pays $12,000 in property tax and they moved to that area to have 80% of their property taxes goto the school of their choice is being asked to supplement other schools by losing any state monies, I get it. By the way, you would too. Plenty of folks have purchased homes in good school districts under these rules. It was the reason they purchased a reasonable home in a good area, and not a mansion in a less desirable school district. By this action, should these tax payers on the losing end not have to pay state taxes? What exactly will they get on the educational funding side of their taxes? The answer is 0. Why would any party or person not understand that? Reform must happen, not this way.

  17. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:00 pm:


    I understand the issue perfectly. Nobody wants to lose money. But you aren’t going to have a bill that doesn’t take money away from somebody. So I doubt anything is going to pass because nobody wants to be a loser.

    I’m of the opinion that the poorer districts should get the most money. If you live in a wealthy area that has the tax base to support your schools then you should get less money from the state. There are limited resources. Put them where they are needed most.

  18. - Anon - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:00 pm:

    Manar is the adult in the room. He’s not highly partisan. Anyone who has watched just a minute of this play out over 18 months would know that by now.

  19. - Bill White - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:03 pm:

    Starting around the 30:00 mark there is good discussion of Senate Bill 16, including comments from Senator Linda Holmes, Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia and Rep. Ron Sandack, plus others.

  20. - Walter Mitty - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:05 pm:

    Thanks.. That’s the core of the issue. It is partisan. I pay high taxes for good schools. I made that choice and did so knowing the “game”. What I paid for a house and taxes would be a mansion in southern Illinois. This bill as stated is where it should be. Deadlocked. Any suburban legislator that is dealing with this issue and supports it, will be shocked. Many if not all of the suburban school districts are hosting information meetings on it’s impact. This will get ugly. I get the principal of your argument. And I agree. It’s just not realistic.

  21. - mythoughtis - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:06 pm:

    I agree with Demoralized. We need to educate all of the children in the state to the same level… not just the ones that live in wealthy districts. Unless you somehow think you get to dictate the K-12 background of every adult whose services (medical, legal, otherwise) you need over your entire life span?

  22. - Rod - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:07 pm:

    So Walter then are you arguing that all high wealth districts should continue to receive a minimum GSA allocation as they do now? If that is so then more money will need to be appropriated, I am good with that as are the Democrats I think as long as there is revenue.

    The revenue needs to come from some where, many proposed a progressive income tax which failed. Where does the money come from? The millionaire tax?

  23. - Under Influenced - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:12 pm:

    Sandack wants more money for schools. We can all agree on that.

    How does he intend to raise the revenue?

    By freezing property taxes?

    By cutting state spending?

    Lowering income tax?

    Maybe we should communicate to Sandack in the only way he knows how….

  24. - I Love Schools - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    Manar has done an admirable job on a huge issue. But anyone who thinks that Sandack or any other suburban legislator should just sit back and wait until the time comes to push the red button is being a little ridiculous. He has been very engaged with his superintendents and constituents on this issue, and his job first and foremost is to represent his district. Partisan feelings aside, I would be happy if 2 smart thoughtful legislators like Sandack and Manar worked together on large issues like this. Maybe this state could get a few things done.

  25. - Anon - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    The real issue here is moving toward equality of opportunity when it comes to education, or preserving the highly unequal status quo. It’s no surprise that a Rep. from an affluent district is for preserving privilege. It is disappointing, however, that he chose to emulate Proft’s inflamatory rhetoric.

  26. - Commander Norton - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    Walter Mitty -

    I can sympathize with the parent who buys a house in a particular area in the expectation of a certain tax rate and a certain quality of education available at nearby public schools. I can sympathize even more with the low-income family that can’t afford to district-shop and will be sending kids to the local public schools no matter how they’re funded and how bad they get.

    The key here is tax effort. Could a community’s residents pay more in taxes and be just fine - and is state funding simply subsidizing a lower-than-average tax rate? Or is the community taxing itself to death and still not getting the resources it needs? How do we tell?

  27. - Walter Mitty - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:17 pm:

    Rod, I didn’t create this broken system. I have played by it’s rules. Should you be paying for all of the missed vacations and used cars instead of new ones? Of course not. If there are districts that are not providing a quality education in your area, attend the school board meetings. Vote those out that are not properly providing you representation. Or move. I had to move. For the state government to decide winners and losers, is not the answer. Yes, the wealthier districts should receive the current PRO RATED level of funding. Again, why is the government the answer to our problems? Is it because they have been so successful? Ask you rich and poor districts alike where there is common ground? Start with unfunded mandates. See how much is saved.. Millions.

  28. - Anon - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    == We believe the solution is…for the State of Illinois to fully fund education, rather than ranking 50th in the nation in education funding. ==

    That’s the statement from Sandack’s school district. Will he stand up and vote to raise the revenues to increase overall funding? Or just oppose any shift in current funding to the poorest districts?

  29. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    –Again, why is the government the answer to our problems?–

    Isn’t the issue funding of public schools? Who else is going to do that?

  30. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:20 pm:

    == We need to educate all of the children in the state to the same level ==

    I agree. But the question is how best to do that. Should your property taxes, for example, go towards education your children first or someone else’s children?

    Education funding is a very sensitive topic. Mr. Manar may have misjudged some things with the first few drafts of his bill.

  31. - Walter Mitty - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:25 pm:

    Word.. According to the current plan, the government will not fund in these wealthier areas. The local taxpayers will. Do those schools get to skip all of the un funded mandates from the state? If so, people may take it. Or is that not fair? How far does local control go? When it only works for the state? I respect the other side of this argument. I just know there is a misconception of wealth as far as suburbs go. Some of us are struggling as well.

  32. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:26 pm:

    Sure glad we found a way on the last two days of session to use those newly-freed revenue sources for a $1.1 billion capital bill instead of other things.

    While the operating budget is obviously not the same as the capital budget, we sure make some odd choices about how to use our available resources when we are supposed to be flat broke.

  33. - Rod - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:28 pm:

    Formerly Known As there is nothing in SB 16 that uses property taxes from one district and gives them to another district. There is a measurement of property wealth as part of the formula in SB 16 just as there is now.

    The funds we are discussing here that are being moved around are generated from state taxes not local property taxes.

  34. - walker - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:38 pm:

    Classic legislator dilemma:

    Do you optimize the use of limited state resources for the benefit of the state overall, or do you fight primarily for the return of resources to your own district.

    Both are justifiable.

  35. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:43 pm:

    Anon 1:33 -

    The working group did not invite Senate Republicans. However, the Senate Republicans were also the same group that introduced the retort to Madigan’s “free lunch” crusade and then sat on their hands and did nothing with their “plan” for over a year. Then - when Manar introduced the bill - the Senate GOP caucus wailed and complained for no apparent reason. Manar’s criticism of the Senate GOP caucus is both fair and on point.

    Manar knows exactly what he is doing. He is starting a much-needed debate while also taking an Exact-O knife in the middle of the Senate and House GOP caucuses. If you are a downstate GOP official, how do you turn away from SB 16? Your district is likely a winner.

  36. - Retired Teacher - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    Best point Sen. Manar made yesterday is this “you can put more money into the system today and it will never get to the districts that need it the most.” Interesting.

  37. - Gunnar Stahl - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    Sandack has every reason to be concerned. SB 16 would have a huge effect on the schools in his district, and suburban superintendents are understandably on edge…and these are the people that he represents. The EFAC may have started in a bipartisan manner, but that has clearly fallen by the wayside. The comments trying to equate these secret summer meetings to merely a Democrat caucus are highly misinformed. Education advocacy groups have been included in the meetings, GOP members have not.

  38. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    when we are 5% of the worlds poulation,but have 25% of the worlds prisoners,that don`t leave much for schools(he has it right) how can you have victimless crimes?is the criminal the victim?don`t all crimes have a victim?

  39. - Anon - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:48 pm:

    Team Sleep–

    Agreed on this point: Manar knows exactly what he is doing.

  40. - Dan Johnson - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:49 pm:

    I’m not sure that headline is really fair, Rich.

    I mean, Senator Manar has been pretty transparent about trying to right the historical wrong of wealthy Illinois just not paying for schools in poor Illinois. And he has made sustained efforts to include Republicans in that push, especially those who represent poor Illinois. So is Manar guilty of “partisanship” — if that’s a bad thing? I don’t see it.

    Rep Sandack may be a little more guilty of some red meat than Manar, but to be fair, it’s his voters who will pay more (or get less). They probably should in a fair world, since a kid in a poor school should get a decent education, and that’s only happening if wealthier people pay for it (writ large). I don’t think Rep Sandack is wrong to sound the alarm and oppose the whole idea of paying more / getting less, but it would be closer to ideal of the House GOP opponents of SB16 had their own proposal for how they would be comfortable paying for more of the costs of poor schools (I don’t know…teacher tenure reform or longer school days/years or some cost-of-living adjustment to reflect Downstate teachers can get paid a whole lot less than Downers Grove teachers or repeal a truckload of state mandates so wealthier school districts can lower their costs).

    So the “quit the partisanship on both sides” feels like the wrong headline for this substantive story. I think there’s a real opportunity for the House to build on Senator Manar’s work. I hope that happens as we figure out how to provide better teachers to poor kids and figure out how to reduce our costs for the entire K-12 public system.

    FYI, check out the cost of health insurance. Outrageous. We ought to look into consolidating teachers and staff into one big pool and self-insuring instead of paying brokers and insurance carriers a cut of every single school district’s smaller pool. We could really drive some price adjustments with that volume of people in one big insurance pool. Just a thought. OK, ramble is over.

  41. - Big Muddy - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:51 pm:

    What is NOT being talked about here is the language that shifts Chicago Teacher pensions to the state all while Madigan is pushing to cost shift the downstate teacher pensions to the locals.

    What about that impact as well? How much financial pressure do those that support all this think the us in collars can handle?
    67% income tax hike, millionaires tax, SB 16, cost shift, pick up paying the Chicago pensions. Good lord man, Enough already! And oh by the way, WE ALREADY SEND A TON OF CASH TO SOUTH OF I 80!!!!!
    … Sorry for yelling but this is BS…

  42. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:52 pm:

    Anon 2:48 -

    Yes he does and he has a bright future. The man is simply a smooth operator.

    And the Senate GOP did attend some meetings. The legislation itself was all done by Manar and his staff. I needed to slightly correct my previous post. Yikes - two days in a row. I think I need more sleep.

  43. - Walter Mitty - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:53 pm:

    Look at the districts that Sandack represents and the loss of funding. Dive deeper into the poverty levels on the report cards all found online. How do you think these “rich” districts will respond to the over 70% loss in state aid? Cutting teachers and programs. If the answer is to lower the bar everywhere, this is the bill for you. Also, to reply to someone that say’s ” Sandack is just playing to his constituents.” Isn’t that the point of a representative? Should he vote for this mess and expect the downstate vote to carry his election? Snark.

  44. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:53 pm:

    –don`t all crimes have a victim?–


  45. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:54 pm:

    Dan - that is a very good post.

  46. - Phenonymous - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:55 pm:

    SB 16 isn’t ready for prime time, so the House should have a thorough discussion on the bill and education funding reform in general. That ain’t gonna happen by January.

    There are also some significant deviations that were made from the EFAC recommendations to ensure its passage in the Senate - namely that CPS becomes a net winner, when under EFAC recommendations they would lose big time.

    Manar’s holier-than-thou approach to this whole thing bugs me. It’s easy to initiate this conversation and fully support this proposal when your legislative district only loses $91,000 and stands to gain $15 million. Step down from the soap box buddy and get a whiff of the political reality. You opened this Pandora’s Box, so you better get innoculated to the regional criticisms on the bill. And try not get too personal, or else you will jeopardize your initiative.

  47. - walker - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 2:57 pm:

    Team Sleep has it. The primary contenders for the money are the suburban Republicans versus the downstate Republicans. They keep throwing “Chicago” sand in our eyes to cover up that problem.

    Of course we would all like more money distributed so no one gets hurt, without publically committing to a way to pay for it.

    As to “secret” meetings, party caucuses to discuss issues and bills are held all the time, at least as often by Republicans as by Democrats. It’s a well-used canard used to mislead voters.

  48. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 3:05 pm:

    Phenon -

    In some ways, your criticism of Manar and the regional problems are correct. However…

    I often get on Senator Durbin’s case for talking about things he would like to do or things he will do if he is reelected. Andy Manar is not waiting for anything. He is charging full speed ahead and got the ball rolling. The funding formula has been in place since the latter half of Jim Edgar’s second administration. It took 17 years for someone - anyone! - to do something.

  49. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 3:24 pm:

    ==- wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 1:25 pm:==

    It’s a new day apparently.

  50. - Super Fly - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 3:29 pm:

    Sandack is spot on. In the zero sum gain reality here in our state, the new formula cuts funding from traditionally GOP districts. For the Dems to not allow them a seat at the table is ridiculous.

  51. - Phenonymous - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 3:30 pm:

    Team Sleep,

    I have to give Manar credit for taking on this issue. It is a monumental task. But another thing that gets me is this argument that the formula hasn’t changed since 1997 - this isn’t true.

    The state implemented the PTELL adjustment (1999?) to make up for a loss in ability to generate local revenue. They also reformulated the poverty grant (2004) to address inequities in the formula and target poverty. There were multiple statutory increases to the Foundation Level and eventually a change to how the state prorates GSA (2010).

    Maybe all of this tinkering broke the system? It certainly pulled resources away from being equalized for local wealth, which I think it he bill is trying to correct.

  52. - Rod - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 3:35 pm:

    I agree with all of you that have said the bill is not yet ready, even as a revenue neutral bill that takes away from some and gives to others. But Big Muddy is totally wrong when he writes: “the language that shifts Chicago Teacher pensions to the state.” That language does not exist.

    What exists is a Calculation of Available Local Resources for CPS that excludes any amounts actually paid by the Chicago Board of Education into the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund for normal pension costs. That is very, very far from having the State pick up the costs for the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund.

  53. - Phenonymous - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 3:40 pm:


    That pension provision is a deviation from current law. Under SB 16, every dollar CPS pays for it’s normal pension payment is the subtracted from their Available Local Resources, which in turn, results in a dollar being added to their State Aid Payment.

    Are they doing this same accounting procedure in Available Local Resources for TIF funds paid into the district? I’m asking because I don’t know…but it would seem fair.

  54. - Under Influenced - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 3:43 pm:

    How can you have a bipartisan effort when some folks enjoy cutting off their nose to spite their face? e.g. Righter, McCarter, Luechtefeld…shall I continue?

  55. - Toure's Latte - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 3:56 pm:

    ==I don’t think I’ve ever heard before about a “resolution” to stop efforts to pass a bill.
    Don’t you just vote against the bill, if you don’t like it?==

    Not if you’re more interested in gotcha politics. HRO is misfiring again. Top it off Sandack, during the DH candidate interviews, chided his Democrat opponent Liz Chaplin for opposing SB16 but supporting additional education spending and discussion about serious education funding reform. Instead he proposed no way to finance, as others have detailed.

    Manar is grown up seeking solutions to education finance here. Sandack’s opponent Chaplin is on that page already. Sandack is working on strike three.

  56. - DuPage Bard - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 4:02 pm:

    @Walter Mitty
    Sandack is just playing to his constituents.” Isn’t that the point of a representative? Should he vote for this mess and expect the downstate vote to carry his election? Snark.

    Why not? The Cook County Dems carried his election for him this time.

  57. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 4:15 pm:


    I would disagree on three points.

    School funding really isn’t partisan in Illinois. It’s a regional fight.

    Second, in a lot of poorer districts they can’t do anything about it because they don’t have the property tax base to achieve the funding necessary.

    Third, the government decides winners and losers all the time. If your district has the ability to fund itself then, well, fund yourself. It is the state’s job to try and do the best it can to distribute a limited amount of dollars. Not everybody can be winners and forgive me if I don’t have sympathy for the uber-wealthy districts or the people who reside in them.

  58. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 4:33 pm:

    == there is nothing in SB 16 that uses property taxes from one district and gives them to another district ==

    Rod, there was a =for example= in that comment for a reason.

    But, specifically to your point, property taxes do bear relation to the discussion concerning SB16. When communities experience a reduction in the state funding levels they currently have, they will be forced to seek revenue from other sources if they want to maintain current education funding levels. Property taxes can reasonably be expected to serve as a primary source of that increased local revenue to make up for the reduction in state funding.

  59. - Joe M - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 4:35 pm:

    –Again, why is the government the answer to our problems?–

    In this case, because the Illinois Constitution states:

    A fundamental goal of the People of the State is the educational development of all persons to the limits of their capacities.

    The State shall provide for an efficient system of high quality public educational institutions and services.

    Education in public schools through the secondary level shall be free. There may be such other free education as the General Assembly provides by law.

    The State has the primary responsibility for financing the system of public education.
    (Source: Illinois Constitution.)

  60. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 4:38 pm:

    SB16 cut funding for Special Education Teachers. Not all children are able to learn in a regular education classroom.

  61. - Rod - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 5:00 pm:

    Formerly Known As your last statement was correct, a cut in state funding could lead higher property wealth districts to increase property taxes to make up the difference from what the state takes away. But clearly no local dollars are transferred.

    There will be some high property value districts under this situation that might elect just to cut budgets and not increase taxes. There are a few that have stockpiled rainy day money and could use that too for a while.

    I will add that there are supporters of SB 16 who have real concerns about not giving a minimum amount of GSA money to each high wealth district so effectively they have skin in this game too. Again that comes back to the problem of revenue as we discussed before.

  62. - Educated in the Suburbs - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 5:14 pm:

    “Our resolution urges the General Assembly to cease in their efforts to pass SB16 because it does not solve problems with the education funding formula; it simply creates a new list of funding winners and losers.”

    Wow — way to define literally all of politics.

    (My high school had a budget of $80,000 for the yearly variety show in the 1990s. Another 480,000 for the graduation ceremony. You bet your butt I’d rather those programs be “cut” and that money going to needy urban and downstate districts. It is literally absurd to spend $80,000 EVERY YEAR on a high school variety show while hungry children pack 32 to a classroom in poorer districts.)

  63. - Big Muddy - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 5:28 pm:

    Educated in the Suburbs,
    Are you Rauner’s daughter and how did you like Payton prep?

  64. - Hank Kruse - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 6:08 pm:

    I enjoy Bill White’s comments. They are high irony from a guy who spiked teacher’s salaries when he was school board president. Forgive me if I feel I am getting safety tips from the Captain of the Titanic.

  65. - Debbie Chafee - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 8:12 pm:

    How about starting a thread on concerns and suggestions for improving SB16?

  66. - Bill White - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 8:26 pm:

    == How about starting a thread on concerns and suggestions for improving SB16? ==

    That is what I tried to do at 1:09 p.m. today

  67. - Stt - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 8:39 pm:

    My problem with Manar is he always uses the uber rich suburban schools as examples. What about the middle of the road suburban districts. District 204 has already cut over $40 million the last 5 years; that is over 160 teachers RIFed. SB-16 will cut 10 million more. Average class size in the high schools are 34. What else is there to cut! Athletics, special ed, Music, PE. I don’t think people and politicians realize how most suburban schools (NOT ALL) have struggled the 5 years.

  68. - Toure's Latte - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 8:47 pm:

    Bill White was President of the CHSD99 BOE in Downers Grove when they ENDED the pension spiking.

    The formula from the lone contract White presided over resulted in raises that covered a portion of the CPI increase, but not all. Pretty frugal When that translated into between 1-2% raises over four years.

    So Hank Kruse, why do you come here to half-assed and fact-free attack a commenter that usually makes sense and seems cheerful?

    Ah, Bill White supports Liz Chaplin, and you support Ron Sandack.

  69. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 10:45 pm:

    VMan, you’re missing the point. It’s a regional issue, who gets what.

    Suburban districts with a lot of property tax money don’t want to lose what state money they’re getting now by a change in formula.

    If you’ll notice, 60% of the House GOP caucus is not on board with the Sand Man.

    Despite what you see in your learning on TV, most things are about money, not silly party politics.

  70. - Bill White - Tuesday, Sep 30, 14 @ 11:35 pm:

    VMan writes:

    == We know what happens when one single party takes over the entire legislative process and forces through a bill into law without compromise or without any needed discussions. ==

    The GA isn’t even in session right now.

    And until New Years Day, the IL House needs 3/5ths to pass anything.

    And we are discussing the %$@%R^ out of SB16.

    Remind me, what’s the problem again?


    Back to square one. SB16 “as is” is totally and completely unacceptable.

    However, if we add ~$500 million (give or take) to the education appropriation, then the SB16 winners can win without any of the SB16 losers actually losing.

    Of course, that would thwart Ron Sandack’s plan to gut SB16 and go with a voucher scheme (Sorry, a money will follow the child scheme.)

  71. - SB 16 needs changes - Wednesday, Oct 1, 14 @ 1:45 am:

    Many volunteer groups without paid lobbyists did NOT weigh in on SB 16 in the State Senate.

    SB 16 would eliminate direct funding to special ed teachers, school psychologists, school social workers, schools nurses, etc.

    This special ed personnel reimbursement is now in State law at $9,000 for each professional worker, and has been funded at 90 percent to 100 percent.

    SB 16 would establish a block grant, and a weight of 1.0 on that block grant. The block grant is limited to 13.8 percent of a school’s total student population.

    So a school district would receive zero dollars for any student in special ed that exceeds 13.8 percent.

    The Senate report stated this was to address the problem of overidentification of students.

    As your local school superintendent if they want to give all the legal rights in Federal law (IDEA) to more parents and students in exchange for 1/10 to 1/3 of a special ed teachers salary?

  72. - SB 16 needs changes - Wednesday, Oct 1, 14 @ 1:50 am:

    Last sentence should say, ASK your……

  73. - Anon - Wednesday, Oct 1, 14 @ 8:32 am:

    For the record, Chicago is a net loser under SB 16, not a net winner (according to ISBE’s numbers at I’m not sure why people continue to get away with saying this.

  74. - Debbie Chafee - Wednesday, Oct 1, 14 @ 11:58 am:

    It is projected that Chicago starts to gain under the SB16 formula using FY14 data. We will see if that is true when the ISBE releases updated numbers for FY14.

    Chicago would start gaining because 2 billion dollars across the State in Available Local Resources come off the table between FY13 and today. That is approximately a 17% reduction in ALR throughout the State. A lot of that ALR reduction is in Chicago and it makes them look like they have more need with FY14 numbers compared to FY13 numbers.

  75. - Anon - Thursday, Oct 2, 14 @ 1:00 pm:

    @ Debbie Chaffee -

    We’ll see what happens to Chicago when ISBE runs the FY 14 dollars, which they’ve not completed yet.

  76. - JohnJ - Thursday, Oct 2, 14 @ 2:03 pm:

    Do we really think Manar even contemplated introducing this bill if it was going to hammer both the suburbs AND Chicago? You can pass a bill if it hammers one of the three (downstate, suburbs, Chicago). If it hammers two of the three, no way. Especially if one of the two is Chicago.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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