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Not as bad as you might think

Tuesday, Jan 26, 2016

* WalletHub

In light of back-to-school season, WalletHub compared the quality of education in the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia by analyzing 13 key metrics that range from student-teacher ratios to standardized-test scores to dropout rates. By shining the spotlight on top-performing school systems, we aim to encourage parents to help their children realize their maximum potential and to call the attention of lawmakers on the work that remains to be done to improve America’s schools.

Illinois’ overall ranking was 10 out of 51, with a “School-System Quality” ranking of 8th in the nation.

This despite the fact that Illinois is at or near the bottom of every state funding ranking I’ve ever seen, and despite the inherent inequities in the system, as Senate President John Cullerton talked about yesterday.

* And speaking of those inequities

Cullerton said he would find a sponsor to introduce school funding legislation this year, and noted that while changing the funding formula would mean some districts — affluent ones — would lose out on some state funding, districts from Springfield to Cairo would stand to gain extra cash. Illinois ranks last among the 50 states in “funding equity” for public schools, leaving districts in poor areas with less money for special education and other programs that impoverished students are more likely to need, Cullerton said.

Cullerton, a Lincoln Park Democrat, noted that the current funding formula sends relatively less money to Chicago schools for student funding and pension funds, echoing recent statements by CPS chief Forrest Claypool.

Still, similar school funding legislation has failed to gain traction in the past two years when faced with opposition from suburban districts that faced the loss of millions in state funding. Monday afternoon, the top Republican in Cullerton’s chamber, Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Lemont), issued a statement that slammed the suggestion of changing the funding formula as a “special deal” to benefit Chicago.

“Senate President Cullerton’s remarks today will strike fear in the hearts of families and schools across the state. He’s threatening the opening of schools next fall,” Radogno said.

“The Democrat majority controlled state government for more than ten years and ignored school funding reform – other than to create special deals for Chicago Public Schools. The most recent proposal again advantaged Chicago — at the expense of suburban school districts.

“We are willing to tackle school funding reform – but it’s not the only place in Illinois ripe for reform.”

* They will obviously have to come up with a way to hold suburban schools harmless, but that’s going to require more money, and more money likely means a tax hike…

“If the majority party in the General Assembly thought that just raising taxes to fund those services, they could do it. They haven’t moved a finger to go do that,” Rauner said. “They are very comfortable not having a budget and letting those services go away. To me, that’s an outrage.”

Cullerton said Democrats won’t try to raise taxes on their own.

“There are not enough Democrats willing to do that,” Cullerton said. “We’re not going to have any tax increase unless Bruce Rauner agrees to it. And if he agrees to it, the amount of the increase is going to be up to him. So that requires compromise.”

For his part, Rauner has said he would be open to raising taxes, but only if his changes are adopted first.

So, the gauntlet has been thrown. Cullerton will demand that Rauner wear the jacket for any tax hike by personally choosing the increased taxation levels.

Could be a while.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

28 Comments
  1. - Anon221 - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 11:42 am:

    “Governor Rauner’s remarks today will strike fear in the hearts of families and schools across the state. He’s threatening the opening of schools next fall,” Radogno said.

    Fixed it, in regards to what has been done to post-secondary school funding.


  2. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 11:42 am:

    “If the majority party in the General Assembly thought that just raising taxes to fund those services, they could do it. They haven’t moved a finger to go do that,” Rauner said. “They are very comfortable not having a budget and letting those services go away. To me, that’s an outrage.”

    *********

    Bruce:

    Where is YOUR Constitutionally Mandated Balanced Budget?

    THAT is an outrage. And if you have no desire to do the job, then resign. And after a year that appears to be the case.

    Jack


  3. - Jack Stephens - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 11:43 am:

    Best Governor ever. Just get rid of unions. That is all we need.


  4. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 11:44 am:

    Just in time to disrupt the SOTS, Cullerton lays it down with a compelling case for a new funding formula. It’ll probably take a month or so for the Superstars to explain the current funding formula to the Governor.

    I also suspect Madigan is about to spring something too to pre-empt the speech. They are playing good cop/bad cop with Rauner. Or maybe bad cop/worse cop. Not sure yet.

    Oh well, they gave him a year and he wasted the opportunity. It’s time to move forward, with or without him.


  5. - Earnest - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 11:45 am:

    >“They are very comfortable not having a budget and letting those services go away. To me, that’s an outrage.”

    I don’t have the words to react to that statement from the person decimating human services in the name of an all-or-nothing approach to his agenda.


  6. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 11:56 am:

    I’m wondering which suburbs might lose funding, since I live in one. Some very affluent suburbs
    are probably independent of state funding, but I assume many are in a mid-range of partial state funding. If their state funding is reduced,they would have to make up the dif with increased property taxes, which are already very high. I think school funding “reform” has foundered on this issue in the past. Our pols
    of both parties seem to do the same things over and over-pension “reform,” school funding “reform”

    Anyway, in the past, media outlets have put out charts showing how much each school district would gain or lose in a proposed redistribution of school funding. If Cullerton’s proposal moves stat in the interest of transparency. I suspect that for many suburbanites, the numbers won’t be pretty.


  7. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 12:01 pm:

    =It’ll probably take a month or so for the Superstars to explain the current funding formula to the Governor.=

    Good luck with that one. There is maybe 1 or 2 legislators that have a strong command of the funding and Manar isn’t one of them.


  8. - Cassandra - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 12:03 pm:

    Sorry, above, I meant: if Cullerton’s proposal moves, we need such a chart stat, in the interest of transparency.


  9. - Dance Band on the Titanic - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 12:08 pm:

    Radogno:
    The most recent proposal again advantaged Chicago — at the expense of suburban school districts.

    Cullerton:
    Not only is the overall amount spent on education in Illinois relatively low, but the neediest districts tend to be shortchanged, he said. In Ohio, for instance, districts that mostly educate low-income children get $1.22 for every $1 spent statewide, but in Illinois the figure is 81 cents. “Why should a high schooler in Elgin get a $12,000-a-year education, whereas 20 miles away, a high schooler in Niles (Township) gets a $22,000 education?”

    Perhaps Radogno should explore a little beyond the borders of Lemont.


  10. - Shemp - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 12:09 pm:

    Yea, downstate loses out again in a battle between the suburbs and Chicago! I can’t think of any off the top of my head, but do any other Midwest states blow off their downstate areas like we do?


  11. - cdog - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 12:13 pm:

    Sure would like to see that school district taxing body disappear from my property tax bill.

    I would gladly pay more on my income over $1,000,000. /s


  12. - All the king's men - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 12:30 pm:

    “The most recent proposal again advantaged Chicago — at the expense of suburban school districts.”
    So I am just wondering if Sen.Radogno would even bat an eye lash at this if it were downstate schools or someone else, that would be most heavily effected. It’s only an issue if it affects you right?


  13. - George Washington - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 12:39 pm:

    Didn’t Chicago ask for control over their school pensions, and then used it like a piggy bank. Now that the money is gone, they want things to go back to how it was originally. Also, if we are going to find equitably, let’s pay our property taxes, etc. equitably. Chicago property and businesses pay very low taxes in comparison to the suburbs. Raise them to the same rates, and then let’s start talking about divvying up the money.


  14. - plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 12:43 pm:

    Last time I looked, Chicago had a higher percentage of their per student expenditures paid for by the state than any of the school districts in my area. Additionally, in most cases, Chicago spent more on their students than the suburban schools I looked at..

    A different perspective can be that the suburban communities value education so much that thee are willing to levy huge taxes to supplement the funds the state allocates. Seems that Chicago should do the same thing.


  15. - Corporate Thug - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 12:52 pm:

    Radogno’s comments are interesting. The GOP caucuses threatened schools this passed year when they didn’t vote to fund them. And every day the GA doesn’t move a budget more SS agencies & our state universities are threatened. Also, school funding reform hasn’t been ignored. A few bills dealing with funding reform over the last 6 years passed the Senate. Meeks passed one. Manar the other. DOA in the house.

    And Rich is right. Suburban schools are gonna want something out of this deal. And that’s where things start falling apart. You can shuffle the deck chairs, but its tough to convince those districts that lose to go along. It goes back to the one thing nobody is willing to do at the moment and that’s raise revenue. Everyone under the dome knows this. But who’s gonna vote on a revenue bill 10 months away from an election? Nobody.


  16. - Archiesmom - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 12:58 pm:

    Cullerton speaks the truth on tax increases. Refreshing to hear that.


  17. - Enviro - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 12:59 pm:

    == changing the funding formula would mean some districts — affluent ones — would lose out on some state funding, districts from Springfield to Cairo would stand to gain extra cash.==

    Downstate schools would also benefit from school funding reform.


  18. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 1:07 pm:

    Thug - what made SB 16 so interesting was that several suburban Dem Senators voted in favor of it without any potential funding swap or property tax proposal(s). Of course, it also included block grant and CPS funding reforms. But they voted to take a massive hit. Some districts were in line to lose $25-$30 million, which is a huge a blow.


  19. - All the king's men - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 1:37 pm:

    I got a great idea! Let’s make a deal with law makers to give everyone a pass during the next election, and in return they do something useful like fix the budget and create equitable school funding. That’s a fair deal right? Everybody wins. Well mostly.


  20. - Skeptic - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 1:37 pm:

    “* They will obviously have to come up with a way to hold suburban schools harmless, but that’s going to require more money, and more money likely means a tax hike……”

    Why? Almost all the Dems & most of downstate GOP districts would benefit from Cullertons proposal. The cash strapped outnumber the flush districts.


  21. - All the king's men - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 1:43 pm:

    Skeptic, numbers don’t matter if leaders can get the bill buried in committees. And I am sure there are more than a few om both sides Democrats and Republicans who would be happy to make that happen.


  22. - thechampaignlife - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 1:56 pm:

    The “hold harmless” for suburban districts could simply be that current appropriations are held fixed and all inflationary/new appropriations go to the underfunded districts until equity is reached. This draws out the fix but avoids a sudden revenue decline, allaying the suburban districts’ immediate fears and panic.


  23. - Carhartt Representative - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 2:01 pm:

    =Last time I looked, Chicago had a higher percentage of their per student expenditures paid for by the state than any of the school districts in my area. Additionally, in most cases, Chicago spent more on their students than the suburban schools I looked at..

    A different perspective can be that the suburban communities value education so much that thee are willing to levy huge taxes to supplement the funds the state allocates. Seems that Chicago should do the same thing.=

    Then you’re not reading the statistics properly. The state provides 34% of Chicago’s funding, but 35% of Rockford, 54% of Waukegan, 44% of Hazel Crest, 50% of Casey, 51% of Chester etc. This doesn’t include the unequal pension situation or the fact the CPS brings in more federal dollars because of their at risk population.

    Source - Reboot Illinois.


  24. - anon. - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 2:04 pm:

    Illinois’ overall ranking was 10 out of 51, with a “School-System Quality” ranking of 8th in the nation.

    This despite the fact that Illinois is at or near the bottom of every state funding ranking

    There seems to be a disconnect between ed spending and results - maybe the cries for more funding are overwrought?


  25. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 2:06 pm:

    ===maybe the cries for more funding are overwrought? ===

    Only if you love paying property taxes.


  26. - Enviro - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 3:04 pm:

    ==There seems to be a disconnect between ed spending and results - maybe the cries for more funding are overwrought?==

    Total spending per pupil is not the same as state funding per pupil. Because many Illinois school districts rely on property taxes to pay for a greater share of public education costs, Illinois actually spends more than most other states in total spending per pupil.


  27. - Enviro - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 3:09 pm:

    I meant to say Illinois actually spends more than most other states in AVERAGE total spending per pupil. That would be an average of $12,500 per pupil in 2014.


  28. - Carhartt Representative - Tuesday, Jan 26, 16 @ 3:15 pm:

    =I meant to say Illinois actually spends more than most other states in AVERAGE total spending per pupil. That would be an average of $12,500 per pupil in 2014.=

    The problem is when so much of the funding comes from local property taxes, you get districts that are amazing and very well-funded as well as districts that are falling apart and can only hire teachers that can’t find anywhere else to work.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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