Superintendent Ptacek discusses ISBE’s approval of FY 2019 budget request

By Gary Scott on January 22, 2018 at 6:19am

The Illinois State Board of Education approved a budget request for public education funding for the fiscal year 2019 earlier this week.

According to a press release, the ISBE recommended an investment to support educational excellence totaling approximately $15.7 billion in State General Funds. This includes an Evidence-Based Funding level that would aims to ensure every school district in the state can cover the cost of providing a quality education to all students when combined with federal funding and local resources.

With this news from the ISBE, many might be wondering what this means for school districts in west central Illinois. As for Jacksonville School District 117 Superintendent Steve Ptacek, he feels this entirely new funding formula wasn’t quite necessary in the first place, and says this latest news could be a sign of things to come.

“Well I think this is just evidence of something we’re going to be seeing over the next couple years. I’ve been pretty vocal that I didn’t see the need to make an entirely new funding formula if we just simply would’ve put the money into 100 percent funding of the old formula. And I think this is exact evidence of once you over complicate something, people are going to find the errors in the system, the flaws in the system, and that will be repeated,” says Ptacek.

Ptacek shares his thoughts on Governor Bruce Rauner’s latest veto, and believes the former system of providing general state aid caused less confusion.

“Governor Rauner’s veto, from what I’m reading about the Evidence-Based Funding, is more about wording for the private school funding portion of it. So if we wouldn’t have over complicated the system and just agreed to a 100 percent fund GSA (General State Aid), we’d all know how much money we were getting – almost all the of the districts I’ve spoken to…if that were the end scenario, we’d be good to go,” Ptacek explains.

Ptacek shares his thoughts on whether this latest budget request approval might have any direct impact on District 117.

“I don’t think so because what we’ll do is when we remain on the hold harmless our dollars won’t change, and it’s still up in the air about exactly how much our dollars would change with the funding formula. So we’re going to just continue to budget as we’ve budgeted the last couple of years based on that flat amount of General State Aid,” Ptacek says.

Also included in the Illinois State Board of Education’s 2019 fiscal year budget request is $6.3 million in District Broadband Expansion, which looks to be part of a larger initiative being pushed by State Senators Sam McCann and Andy Manar.