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Maybe I’m wrong, but these superintendents don’t sound cowed to me

Wednesday, Jul 19, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Remember on Monday when Gov. Rauner said school superintendents were scared of the “tyrant” Speaker Madigan and that’s why they were supporting SB 1? These superintendents don’t sound all that scared

Superintendents from across the state, along with dozens of teachers, students, and parents, gathered at Brighton North Elementary School to show their strong support for SB 1. Many superintendents said the state already owes them money from previous years, resulting in program and personnel cuts and job losses.

“If the state of Illinois delays or quits sending our general state aid, I don’t think people realize that our district, Bethalto Unit 8, could not stay open for more than one month if general state aid would stop flowing,” said Dr. Jill Griffin, Bethalto School District Superintendent.

Mark Skertich, superintendent of the Southwestern Illinois School District, which includes Bethalto public schools, said his district would be forced to make more deep cuts if SB-1 isn’t signed into law soon.

“We believe all children should receive an adequate and equitable education and we expect a new funding formula does not include winners and losers. Senate Bill 1 is the only bill poised to become law and advocates for call children,” Skertich said.

* Neither do these

Meanwhile, Superintendent Mike Gauch from Harrisburg Unit 3 said he worked on SB1 for years and supports it, even with extra money for teacher pensions in Chicago.

“When SB1 was created, the thought was that all school children in Illinois would be created equal and be treated equally across the board,” said Gauch. “And one of those things that was brought up was the fact that all schools in Illinois get state funding to pay pensions and Chicago is not one of those schools.”

And superintendent Gauch has lots of company supporting SB1.

“Should they not accomplish their work to fund schools, it would be a sad day for our state that our governor and general assembly would hold our kids hostage,” said Superintendent Keith Oates from Marion Unit 2

* More here

Lake County school superintendents hope a new state funding formula will promise more equity among all school districts, regardless of their zip code.

“No district loses money, I can tell you from my districts prospective in particular it was important for us to make sure there was no Robin Hood scenario going on,” said Brian Harris, superintendent of Barrington 220 School District.

On Monday, Harris stood with superintendents from poorer school districts urging Gov. Rauner to sign SB 1, a bill that changes the funding formula to an evidence-based system which means lower-income districts, who don’t have a strong property base, will no longer be short changed.

* Two more

“We need a funding formula,” Quincy Superintendent Roy Webb said. “It’s too critical for schools not to have any funding. The money’s been allocated, and with the new income tax, the money is there for schools, so it would be a shame if they didn’t do something.”

Pikeland School District Superintendent Paula Hawley agreed.

“The bottom line is, we need some way to get this funding to the schools as soon as possible,” Hawley said. “We need to have general state aid coming in in a timely manner starting in August, when it’s supposed to. Senate Bill 1 is the best way to get it to us right now. They have to figure out the politics in Chicago, but don’t penalize us in the meantime.”

* Another one

Connie Collins, superintendent of Round Lake Area School District 116, said it is urgent the governor signs the bill so districts could have the certainty to open their doors in time for the start of school next month. About 82.5 percent of District 116 students are from low-income families.

* But Cary Grade School District 26 Board President Scott Coffey is not a fan

Its easy to forecast that we’ll end up in exactly the same place as was projected under the original SB-1, with suburban districts as the “Losers” and low-income/downstate districts as the winners.

* Editorial boards…

* News-Gazette editorial: Send S.B. 1 to governor: There’s no reason Gov. Rauner and Democrats could not have worked out their differences, or still can’t, to reach a compromise.

* Tribune editorial: Illinois governor candidates should ‘campaign’ by getting things done: That’s why it is imperative for lawmakers and Rauner to recognize they’re still on the clock and expected to deliver results — solutions — even in an intense election season. They have a job to do and it isn’t getting themselves re-elected. They work for us.

* SJ-R editorial: Lawmakers need to get moving on school funding reform: Earlier this month we called on Cullerton, Madigan and Rauner to put aside partisan politics and work together for the betterment of Illinois. School funding would be a great place to start.

* Related…

* Mark Brown: Republican Andersson who broke ranks on budget undecided on school bill

* CTBA: Senate Bill 1124—An Inequitable Alternative to SB 1

* Press release: Gov. Rauner to lawmakers: “Send me the education funding bill now”

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22 Comments
  1. - Reformed - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 1:55 pm:

    Respectfully, hard to disagree with you any more Rich. Only one of these Supes is saying “I agree with what is in SB1.” All the rest are saying “I no longer have a choice, it’s either SB1 or we get no GSA at all.”

    The combination of the evidence based model mandate (which both parties were guilty of trying to use) and the Dems’ delay tactic has backed these guys into a corner.


  2. - Reformed - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 2:01 pm:

    I mean honestly, how can you say “they don’t sound scared”:

    “I don’t think people realize that our district, Bethalto Unit 8, could not stay open for more than one month if general state aid would stop flowing”

    “his district would be forced to make more deep cuts if SB-1 isn’t signed into law soon”

    “a sad day for our state that our governor and general assembly would hold our kids hostage”

    “It’s too critical for schools not to have any funding. ”

    “we need some way to get this funding to the schools as soon as possible”

    “urgent the governor signs the bill so districts could have the certainty to open their doors in time for the start of school next month”

    Sounds pretty terrifying for these guys… And this choice between SB1 and no funding at all isn’t inevitable. Funding would never be in jeopardy if the Dems had (1) removed the evidence based model mandate or (2) sent the bill to the Gov by now so that either negotiation or a veto override could happen.


  3. - Porgy Tirebiter - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 2:06 pm:

    Not one of the superintendent’s use the words gosh, jee or shucks.
    So who was the superintendent talking to 1.4% the other day?


  4. - Real - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 2:09 pm:

    Rauner is the problem. These superintendents want sb1. Rauner supporters are looking to spin even this.


  5. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 2:12 pm:

    This has always been the Achilles heel of the “Blame Madigan” strategy- it’s *not* just Madigan, or even primarily Madigan, in every case, trying to stop Rauner’s extremist agenda. A lot of people in this state really do prefer Democratic policies.


  6. - Opiate of the Masses - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 2:13 pm:

    every supt i know is on board with sb1 and there is zero equivocation.


  7. - JohnnyPyleDriver - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 2:20 pm:

    So both sides want the new formula, but Rauner and the IPI don’t want any money going to Chicago. But it’s the Dems fault for not sending the bill to Rauner quick enough that he can veto it in time for the GA to override? But Rauner is the one trying to get money to the schools? None of that makes any sense


  8. - Shark Sandwich - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 2:20 pm:

    Reformed, that was a lot of quotes to go thru just to misrepresent Rich’s point. Scared of not having funding is not the same as ’scared of the ‘tyrant’ Madagin’.


  9. - Try-4-Truth - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 2:25 pm:

    ===== - Reformed - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 1:55 pm:

    Respectfully, hard to disagree with you any more Rich. Only one of these Supes is saying “I agree with what is in SB1.” All the rest are saying “I no longer have a choice, it’s either SB1 or we get no GSA at all.”

    The combination of the evidence based model mandate (which both parties were guilty of trying to use) and the Dems’ delay tactic has backed these guys into a corner.

    - Reformed - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 2:01 pm:

    I mean honestly, how can you say “they don’t sound scared”:

    “I don’t think people realize that our district, Bethalto Unit 8, could not stay open for more than one month if general state aid would stop flowing”

    “his district would be forced to make more deep cuts if SB-1 isn’t signed into law soon”

    “a sad day for our state that our governor and general assembly would hold our kids hostage”

    “It’s too critical for schools not to have any funding. ”

    “we need some way to get this funding to the schools as soon as possible”

    “urgent the governor signs the bill so districts could have the certainty to open their doors in time for the start of school next month”

    Sounds pretty terrifying for these guys… And this choice between SB1 and no funding at all isn’t inevitable. Funding would never be in jeopardy if the Dems had (1) removed the evidence based model mandate or (2) sent the bill to the Gov by now so that either negotiation or a veto override could happen.=====

    What part do you think makes them sound scared? Is it this:

    “When SB1 was created, the thought was that all school children in Illinois would be created equal and be treated equally across the board,” said Gauch. “And one of those things that was brought up was the fact that all schools in Illinois get state funding to pay pensions and Chicago is not one of those schools.”

    Or this:

    “No district loses money, I can tell you from my districts prospective in particular it was important for us to make sure there was no Robin Hood scenario going on,” said Brian Harris, superintendent of Barrington 220 School District.

    On Monday, Harris stood with superintendents from poorer school districts urging Gov. Rauner to sign SB 1, a bill that changes the funding formula to an evidence-based system which means lower-income districts, who don’t have a strong property base, will no longer be short changed.

    The only fear I see is fear that the Gov. actions will lead to nothing happening. That’s the real fear.


  10. - City Zen - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 2:37 pm:

    ==All the rest are saying “I no longer have a choice, it’s either SB1 or we get no GSA at all.”==

    That was my takeaway as well. At this point, cash is king.


  11. - Sangamon Sonny - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 2:51 pm:

    Rich is right. These superintendents have stuck with Senate Bill 1 all along even when the facts were twisted against them and they faced a lot of flack from their own neighbors. Then the Governor melted down on Monday because nothing is going right for him, including superintendents in Republican areas who want Senate Bill 1 and not his phony plan.


  12. - ArchPundit - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 2:59 pm:

    ==But Cary Grade School District 26 Board President Scott Coffey is not a fan…

    Perhaps the Board President should merge with the secondary district in that area to be more efficient? I mean, that’s what the Governor wants right? (And I agree with the Gov on that).


  13. - CEA - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 3:05 pm:

    It’s never been clear to me how the differential treatment of CPS vs. the rest of the school districts in Illinois is even constitutional. Anti-Chicago rhetoric is a reliable go-to for downstate politicians wanting to cut better deals for their constituents, which is all well and good, but the simpler a piece of legislation is to explain, the easier it is to defend, and the easier it is for voters to swallow. Rauner and the IPI (we’re going to be saying that so often that we probably need an acronym for it…RPI? RIP?) can shout “bailout” until they’re blue in the face, but I suspect there are a lot of voters even downstate who don’t understand why CPS and other districts don’t play by the same rules.

    Personally, I’d like to see the state cough up its constitutionally-guided 50% or more, both to increase equity and to enable property tax relief, implement a formula like that of SB1, and make districts responsible for their own pension contributions to avoid the perverse incentive to lard up pre-retirement salaries and push early retirements. But even SB1 as it sits still seems like an improvement over the status quo, and I have to wonder how effectively the Rauner/IPI “no bailout” message is resonating. For a “reform” Governor, Rauner seems intent on derailing what most district administrators and a fair number of taxpayers seem to regard as a long-awaited reform.


  14. - City Zen - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 3:12 pm:

    ==Perhaps the Board President should merge with the secondary district in that area to be more efficient?==

    Cary did close an elementary school not too long ago due to declining enrollment.


  15. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 3:14 pm:

    Complain about tactics and timing all you want. If he vetoes the bill, he gets to wear a new jacket, and it won’t be Carhart.


  16. - City Zen - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 3:16 pm:

    ==It’s never been clear to me how the differential treatment of CPS vs. the rest of the school districts in Illinois is even constitutional.==

    Set your Wayback Machine to 1995, Chicago City Hall…


  17. - winners and losers - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 3:18 pm:

    Most of the over 850 school superintendents have remained quiet publicly.

    Some appear to be using public resources to (illegally) lobby for SB 1.

    SB 1 was almost entirely WRITTEN BY SCHOOL SUPERINTENDENTS.

    According to the Pekin Times:
    “Pekin District 108 Superintendent Bill Link said he does not support the state giving $300 million to Chicago Public Schools.

    “Right now the way it’s set up the new funds that are allocated to public schools, a slice of that is going to Chicago Public Schools for that particular pension bailout,” said Link. “According to what the Governor’s office has published, if that $300 million was taken out and put back in the General State Aid pot, that would, for us, probably double what we would get through that new funding formula.

    “We’re looking at probably $560,000 additional dollars. Either way it’s going to benefit us.”

    District 108 Business Manager Glayn Worrell said the added revenue would mean $1.080 million additional to District 108 if the CPS pension bailout is withdrawn.

    Link said the “spirit” needs to change.

    “I think the expectation should be that there should be more of a spirit of problem solving instead of the spirit of a power struggle, in my mind,” said Link. “I think our local legislators, the ones we come in contact with the most, have a very good outlook on that.

    “There are a lot of good people who serve in those positions in the general assembly and want to do the right thing, but unfortunately there are those who wield the power.”

    Pekin District 303 Superintendent Danielle Owens said she hoped Rauner will amend the bill to exclude the $300 million and send it back to the Senate, “but we will have to wait and see.”


  18. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 4:47 pm:

    Gosh it almost sounds like Rauner made up conversations with superintendents earlier this week.


  19. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 5:57 pm:

    =====Reformed=====
    Bethalto could scale back on some of the administrative positions. The superintendent Brad (not Mark) Skirtish did when he moved to the district with great results.


  20. - Fredo Corleone - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 6:50 pm:

    I respect the teachers and administrators, but let’s get real, they want SB-1 because they want to get paid. There needs to be a real solution to the teacher pension issue. A total phase out over time. That doesn’t mean reducing amounts owed at this point, it means future credits are reduced and ultimately replaced by a completely different vehicle. No time like the present to get started.


  21. - Original Rambler - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 8:07 pm:

    Reformed, you’ve heard the phrase often here “Do the doable.” SB1 is the doable. Unlike the Governor, the Supes are accepting it as the doable. That’s not to say they are enamored with it, but they support it because it is what can be done.


  22. - blue dog dem - Wednesday, Jul 19, 17 @ 9:43 pm:

    The phrase’ do the doable’, appears to me to mean the same as’ same old same old’.’.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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