* From the CEO of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials…
* From the ISBE…
The design of [Evidence-Based Funding] is to calculate an individual Adequacy Target for each Organizational Unit in the state. (In most cases, “Organizational Unit” refers to school districts.) That Adequacy Target is based on 34 individual cost factors, which include additional supports based on Organizational Units’ populations of low-income children and English Learners. Additional supports for students with special needs are provided based on the overall enrollment of the Organizational Unit. These students and their needs are further protected by the statutory requirement that each Organizational Unit provide a spending plan for the EBF it receives with specific detail regarding the expenditure of funds attributable to low-income children, students with special needs, and English Learners.
EBF has provided a more equitable distribution formula and a path toward adequacy. The fact remains that the primary funding source for education in the State of Illinois is the property tax system. At this point in time, the state has not fulfilled its constitutional mandate to assume the primary responsibility for financing the system of public education. Without that commitment from the state, there is a wide variance in what school districts can commit locally, with an inequitable result for students. As previously stated, preliminary Adequacy Target calculations show that Organizational Units in Illinois range from having 46 percent to having 284 percent of the resources necessary to provide a quality education to students. Federal funds support our highest-needs children and families and on average make up 10 percent of funds provided to districts, so we believe “primary responsibility” constitutes ensuring that every district can meet at least 90 percent of its individual Adequacy Target through a combination of state and local funding support.
The Superintendent is recommending $13,884,200,000 for FY 2019 to meet this 90 percent threshold and ensure adequate supports for all children in the State of Illinois based upon the singular definition of adequacy provided for in statute. The recommended appropriation level is preliminary and will be refined when FY 2018 EBF calculations are finalized later in the spring.
* Meanwhile, over in higher education…
A rift has emerged as education leaders debate how aggressively to push lawmakers for state aid. At the heart of the issue is how to finance the state’s public universities following two years of almost non-existent state funding.
Presidents of the state’s nine public universities wrote a letter openly opposing the budget that the state higher education board presented at its meeting in December. In unusually blunt terms, the presidents told the board its request to state lawmakers was too conservative and would “place further burdens on public universities” after “two years of financial calamity.” […]
The [Illinois Board of Higher Education’s] funding proposal seeks about $3.47 billion for public universities, community colleges, grants and various higher education divisions for 2018-19. It would be a $254 million increase over current funding, according to the board report.
The share for public universities would be a little more than $1.1 billion, a $24.1 million increase from this year.
That isn’t enough for the school presidents. They want the board to request $1.2 billion from the state, matching the allocation for public universities in 2015, the last year there was a budget before the impasse began.
* Finke on Gov. Rauner’s pledge to balance the budget and roll back the tax hike…
“We will introduce a plan to repeal the Madigan tax hike and require the budget to be truly balanced. No balanced budget — no pay for legislators,” said another Twitter entry.
If this is going to be a legitimate effort at repealing last summer’s income tax hike, then Rauner will include in his plan just how the state will cope with that loss in revenue. One way would be to once again let the bill backlog balloon to ridiculous amounts and put the state’s bond rating in jeopardy. That’s probably not the preferable approach, which makes it essential for the person or persons who propose getting rid of the tax hike to explain how the state will deal with it.
Somehow, though, that never seems to be part of the proposal.
The first six months of the state’s fiscal year are in the books and guess what? Income tax collections are up by about $2.2 billion over a year ago. As well they should be, given the income tax increase passed in July.
Plus, the amount of money from the feds grew by $2.5 billion because the state borrowed money and paid off Medicaid bills with it.
Still, the bill backlog was at $8.75 billion as of Friday. Worth remembering as the campaign season heats up and more people call for cutting state taxes.
Gonna be tough enough to do all that even without the aforementioned public pressures to increase spending.