Superintendent Ehren Jarrett is among 120 school superintendents who today called on Gov.-elect Bruce Rauner to support the School Funding Reform Act, Senate Bill 16.
“We have reached a turning point,” Dr. Jarrett said. “The schools in this state need to be equitably funded. The hard work of an Illinois Senate advisory committee has resulted in SB16, which would move the state toward a more fair and a more simple funding formula for education. The time to act on school funding reform is now.”
The Rockford School Board endorsed SB16 on Oct. 28. The bill does not appropriate more money from the state; it simply allocates the money differently across the state. The bottom line for the Rockford Public Schools would be $17.9 million in new revenue. All but one district in the region stands to gain revenue from SB16.
Reform is critical because of the state’s heavy reliance on the property tax to fund education. Because of that, revenue can vary dramatically by district. In the case of Rockford, declining property values have caused taxing bodies like RPS 205 to reach tax caps. The community also has a high percentage of low-income families. The new formula would take into account the poverty level of every school district and distribute funding based on need.
Dr. Jarrett is a member of a coalition called Leaders of Funding IL’s Future. The group includes superintendents across the state and community and business leaders. The Senate passed SB16 in the spring but the legislation is pending in the House.