BRIGHTON, Ill. – Illinois school superintendents met Tuesday to pressure Governor Bruce Rauner into signing Senate Bill 1, which would change the funding formula for school districts.
With the school year set to begin in a few weeks, superintendents from around the state are worried classes in their district may not start on time unless the governor signs the bill.
The legislation changes the funding formula to an evidence-based system, which means lower-income districts who don’t have a strong property base will no longer be short-changed.
Governor Rauner said he will not sign the bill unless money is moved from Chicago public schools to other districts. He claimed the bill is nothing more than a pension bailout for Chicago schools.
Superintendents from across the state, along with dozens of teachers, students, and parents, gathered at Brighton North Elementary School to show their strong support for SB 1. Many superintendents said the state already owes them money from previous years, resulting in program and personnel cuts and job losses.
“If the state of Illinois delays or quits sending our general state aid, I don’t think people realize that our district, Bethalto Unit 8, could not stay open for more than one month if general state aid would stop flowing,” said Dr. Jill Griffin, Bethalto School District Superintendent.
Mark Skertich, superintendent of the Southwestern Illinois School District, which includes Bethalto public schools, said his district would be forced to make more deep cuts if SB-1 isn’t signed into law soon.
“We believe all children should receive an adequate and equitable education and we expect a new funding formula does not include winners and losers. Senate Bill 1 is the only bill poised to become law and advocates for call children,” Skertich said.