The Rockford School Board tonight supported state legislation that, if approved, could mean an additional $17.9 million for RPS 205.
Senate Bill 16 – or the School Funding Reform Act – overhauls how state aid is distributed to Illinois school systems. SB16 does not appropriate more money from the state; it simply allocates the money differently across the state. The bottom line increase to RPS 205 is $17.9 million in new revenue. Given the anticipated flat revenue from local property taxes, the district will need that additional money just to balance the budget.
All but one district in the region stands to gain revenue from SB16. Because of this, RPS 205 plans to ask local representatives to support the bill in the coming weeks. “Now that the Rockford Board of Education has supported SB16, we ask that other organizations in our community stand with us, stand for students and stand behind the urgent need for school funding reform,” said Chief Financial Officer Cedric Lewis.
The bill overwhelmingly passed the Senate last spring, and it is currently in the House.
Illinois’ most affluent districts will lose money in this new breakdown. That’s why Chicago collar communities oppose the bill. The bill could force wealthy property districts to increase their tax rates or cut program spending.
Rockford has reached its tax caps because of declining property values; the community also has a high percentage of low-income families. The new formula also takes into account the poverty level of every school district.