Area Superintendents discuss school funding crisis at town hall in Carrollton

By Blake Schnitker on August 15 at 9:01am

A sizeable crowd gathered at Carrollton Grade School last night for a town hall to discuss Illinois’s ongoing school funding issues.

Last night’s meeting was organized by Superintendents Dr. Kerry Cox from Carrollton, Dr. Kevin Bowman of Greenfield, Mr. Mark Scott from North Greene and Superintendent Brad Skertich of Southwestern, along with representatives from the group Advance Illinois.

Advance Illinois is hosting a number of town halls across the state under their initiative “Fix the Formula,” which strives to educate people about Illinois’ school funding formula and Senate Bill 1.

One of the speaker’s at last night’s town hall was Brent Clark from the Illinois Association of School Administrators. Clark talks about how school funding issues affect districts, specifically in Greene County. He describes the “tier model” which decides how much funding each school would receive.

“Greene County schools are going to be tier one, tier two schools because of the gap between what they have to spend locally versus what it’s clear that they need, so they’re gap is pretty large. So they’re going to be assigned a tier distribution called ‘one’ or ‘two,’ that means that they will be in line to receive the largest allocations from the state based on an enrollment basis,” says Clark.

 

Clark also tells us about the next steps in the overall process.

“I think there’s room here for the legislators in the House to get this done. I think one of the tricks to this is to take that pension payment to Chicago that’s inside SB1 and move it over to a pension code bill and get it out of the school bill, which would be pretty easily done. I think they could do that and that would give some downstate legislators, really of both parties, I think more clearance to vote for the bill. So there’s a path to resolve this, it’s doable, they’re going to have to get their heads together, they’re going to have to be dead set that they’re going to get it done,” says Clark.

On Sunday, the Illinois Senate voted to override Governor Rauner’s amendatory veto to Senate Bill 1. The legislation now moves to the House, which is scheduled to reconvene at the Capitol on Wednesday.