State Representative David Harris (R-Arlington Heights), joined by State Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) and Senator Matt Murphy (R-Palatine), held a public forum on Tuesday, Oct. 21st to inform constituents and hear comments about Senate Bill 16, a significant rewrite of Illinois’ school aid formula.
As currently written, SB 16 would reduce state funding to suburban school districts. The event was held at the Metropolis Performing Arts Center; area school superintendents, school board members and concerned citizens attended. State Superintendent of Education Chris Koch and Benjamin Boer, Deputy Director of ADVANCE ILLINOIS, the group advocating for SB 16, were also participants.
“Illinois’ education funding and the formula that disperses it is complicated,” said Harris. “However, if you look at the impact of SB 16, the suburbs take an enormous hit. Every school district that I represent suffers losses in General State Aid in excess of a million dollars under SB 16. That, to me, is simply unfair. I believe that the formula and distribution of General State Aid must be reformed, but it must be done both fairly and equitably. Under SB 16 our suburban districts are unfairly disadvantaged.”
In its current form, school districts in suburban Cook County are estimated to lose $1.1 million to $11 million as a direct result of SB16. High School District 214, which covers Rep. Harris’ legislative district, would lose 78% of its state education funding. That reduction could pose a ripple effect on the suburbs as school districts look to other options for revenue, such as raising property taxes.
Senate Bill 16 passed the Illinois Senate during the Spring Session, and it may be called for a vote in the House before the current General Assembly adjourns in January.