Schools and School Funding


Despite the Governor’s statements about “full funding of schools” many school districts are at least two payments, if not more in arrears on the receipt of mandated categorical. Mandated categorials are payments to local school districts such as for Special Education, Summer School, and Transportation. In addition, the Governor’s proposed property tax freeze would have also applied to school districts. Being amongst the largest levies on a property tax bill, school districts with low EAVs would be hurt immensely. Many school districts have also not received their transportation monies. This will be solved with a fair and equitable budget but at the same time, the Governor’s office and the State Board of Education are responsible for monitoring the fiscal health of these districts. And if they have not received monies owed to them, this administration and the State Board need to be held accountable.

BUT:

One of the most sweeping changes in school funding legislation in the last 30 years occurred with SB1.

SB1 established the so-called “Evidence Based Model” which more fairly allocates money to school districts, irrespective of their property wealth. Based on a mathematical formula, this model accounts fro the needs of students with disabilities, English learners and low-income students. It ensures that a district’s taxing effort matches the districts local wealth and, unlike earlier well-meaning efforts, no school district loses money and is in a more stable long-term funding solution.

Estimated Funds from SB1*

SCHOOL DISTRICT NAME % LOW-INCOME STUDENTS % OF ADEQUACY OVERALL GAIN$
ARBOR PARK SCHOOL DISTRICT 145 48% 57% $566,225
COUNTRY CLUB HILLS SCH DIST 160 77% 62% $264,524
ELEM SCHOOL DISTRICT 159 63% 100% $47,717
MATTESON ELEM SCHOOL DIST 162 60% 67% $289,076
PRAIRIE-HILLS ELEM SCH DIST 144 81% 56% $1,218,074
RICH TWP H S DISTRICT 227 58% 62% $924,276
TINLEY PARK COMM SCH DIST 146 37% 106% $2, 947

 In addition, the evidence based model and some features of the planned FY2018 budget that House Democrats are about to introduce have “true” property tax relief measures built in. High tax school districts are eligible for property tax relief up to 1% of their EAV:

 

SCHOOL DISTRICT NAME PROPERTY TAX RELIEF $(Estimated eligibility ***)
COUNTRY CLUB HILLS SCH DIST 160 $952,264
MATTESON ELEM SD 162 $2,689,710
PRAIRIE-HILLS ELEM SD 144 $1,359,965
RICH TOWNSHIP HIGH SD 227 $2,986,318

 

* Based on ISBE published model. Numbers reflect an FY17 simulation. FY18 Numbers will vary. Based on DHS %

*** Estimate by Advance Illinois and assume a $200M Property Tax Relief Fund