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School Funding Reform Act: How Senate Bill 16 Could Impact Geneva 304
Updated 12/1/14
The State of Illinois has been looking at ways to change education funding, which has remained unchanged since 1997. One of the results of that effort is the creation of Senate Bill 16 (SB16), which passed the State Senate earlier this year.

If enacted into law, SB16 will make sweeping changes in how the state funds education. SB16 does not increase the level of education funding but changes the way in which limited state funding is distributed to school districts. Generally, school districts with higher assessed property values will receive much less state funding while other districts will receive much more state funding.

SB16 does not address the issue of unfunded obligations to school districts that has occurred in recent years; nor does it address the issue of the state not being able to meet its current obligations to fund education.

How will SB16 impact District 304?

The Illinois State Board of Education has calculated the amount each school district would receive next year if SB16, as written, becomes law. District 304 would lose 79.9 percent of its state funding or $3.9 million per year. The Bill would be phased in over a four-year period with the District losing increasing percentages of its state funding in each of the first three years and a full $3.9 million reduction in state funding beginning in year four.

Of the 862 school districts in Illinois, Geneva School District 304 is 25th on the list in terms of those that will experience the largest reduction in state funding. While we always seek to improve efficiency in our District without impacting the classroom, a loss of $3.9 million as a result of the passage of SB16 would put us in a position of reviewing programs and class sizes in order to stay within budget. The District is currently at its maximum tax rate in both the Education and Operations & Maintenance funds, which would preclude us from being able to levy additional dollars to make up for revenue lost through SB16.

In essence, this is a rearranging of funding that would negatively impact about half of the school districts in Illinois, especially in the northern portion of the state. Overall, school districts in northeastern Illinois, including Kane County, stand to lose about $228 million in State funding, and the rest of the state would gain that amount. (See graphic of the redistribution at this link.)

Many Geneva (and other suburban) residents paid more for their houses and pay higher property taxes for the purpose of living in an area with high-achieving schools. This proposed law would significantly reduce the State funding to these high-achieving schools. The solution is not to take from some to give to others, but rather for the State to fully fund education, rather than ranking 50th in the nation in education funding.

What can you do?

Senate Bill 16 passed the State Senate earlier this year. You can see how your Senator voted here. Residents in the Geneva School District attendance area (depending on where you live) are served by State Representatives Mike Fortner, Kay Hatcher, and Timothy Schmitz and by State Senators Jim Oberweis and Karen McConnaughay.

The latest information received by Geneva School District indicates that the bill is still active but has not yet been brought to the House of Representatives for a vote. If you are concerned about the negative impact it will have on Geneva School District 304, please contact your Illinois Representative and voice your opinion on this important education bill.

Contact information for each of the Illinois Representatives and Senators named above is available on our website.
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