School districts around the state continue to feel the effects of Illinois’ school funding crisis.
At the center of the issue is Senate Bill 1, which state legislators have been arguing over for a number of weeks now. The legislation proposes an evidence based funding formula for Illinois schools. A major point of conflict within the bill is the money for Chicago Public Schools to help pay for their teacher pension system.
The Senate returns to the Capitol Sunday, while the House is set to return Wednesday.
Local State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer joined WLDS’ AM Conversation today to share his thoughts on the issue. Davidsmeyer says he doesn’t believe the issue will be resolved by the time he returns to Springfield.
“I think that the majority is resigned to the fact that they’re going to defeat the Governor on every bill he wants. I don’t agree with Senate Bill 1, there are parts of the amendatory veto that I have concerns about, but I think there’s time before, probably by the middle of September, to come together and hash out some of these differences and come to something that we can both agree to,” says Davidsmeyer.
Davidsmeyer breaks down the situation regarding money for Chicago schools.
“There’s almost $500 million thrown in for the city of Chicago. Now, about $221 million of that is for pensions. The state does pay downstate pensions but does not pay Chicago’s because they didn’t want us to. But now they want us to, but we’re not going to make up for the last 11 years of them not paying their pensions. That’s not our problem, they made that on their own,” Davidsmeyer says.
As for districts in west central Illinois, Davidsmeyer says he’s spoken with nearly of the superintendents in the area that he represents.
“I’ve talked to the majority of my superintendents and they’ve said, ‘look, we’re going to open, we’re going to fight as long as we can,’ but some of them have said Thanksgiving or a little before is the drop-dead date,” says Davidsmeyer.
Yesterday marked the date schools were supposed to receive their first general state aid payment while the second payment is due on August 20th.