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Sen. McConnaughay: School-funding plan does not address local needs

State Sen. Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles) says she could not support school funding reform legislation approved by the Senate Aug. 29, because it does not provide the property tax relief and education mandate relief needed by schools in Kane and McHenry counties.

“We had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to enact school-funding reform that treats all districts and students fairly, regardless of their ZIP code. For our schools, that means property tax relief and mandate relief. We got close, but it is unfortunate that we did not quite reach our goal. It was not enough,” McConnaughay said.

“I was a member of the Senate Education Committee and the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission. I sat through the meetings. I heard the testimony. I reviewed all the options. So I know that education funding reform could have been so much more,” McConnaughay added.

Passed by the House on Aug. 28 and by the Senate on Aug. 29, Senate Bill 1947 replaces the state’s outdated school funding formula with a new evidence-based model that utilizes data and widely-accepted best practices to determine how to send funding where it is needed most and where it will help the most students. The evidence-based model relies on 27 data sets to determine the actual costs for each school district to provide an adequate education for the students, which is referred to as an adequacy target. Funding is then prioritized to the schools that are the furthest from their adequacy target.

“Even with all the extras, Senate Bill 1947 is still a partisan school funding plan that gives up too much to one school district, CPS, at the expense of students in Kane, and McHenry counties,” McConnaughay said. “It does not give our schools, which are phenomenal, what we need.  There is not enough mandate relief. There is not enough property tax relief.”

Senate Bill 1947 is now headed to Gov. Bruce Rauner who is expected to sign it into law.

Sen. McConnaughay says she remains committed to passing legislation that will provide mandate relief to local schools and property tax relief to local taxpayers.

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