HB 4277 was introduced in the Illinois House of Representatives in January to make a technical change in the state code concerning school boundary changes. The shell bill provided no details at the time it was introduced.
State Rep. Daniel J. Burke (23rd) sponsored House Floor Amendment No. 1 on May 3 to address inequities in charter school funding as compared to traditional public school funding.
The current funding formula for charter schools was negotiated in 2008, and it included a moratorium on new charter laws that would impact the way state and local governments finance charters until June 30, 2013.
We believe the state Legislature should adhere to the law passed in 2008, and use this time to develop a more comprehensive funding proposal that would be equitable to all schools, including charters, contract and traditional public schools.
As proposed, Amendment 1 does not identify any new revenue sources for Chicago Public Schools, and therefore, any increases in charter school funding before 2013 would come at the expense of existing funding for traditional neighborhood public schools.
Amending a bill meant to address school boundaries by including language to increase funding for charter schools while ignoring the needs of traditional public schools is wrong, even if it is done in the name of “fairness.”
This is particularly true when CPS is struggling to close a $712 million budget gap and hasn’t figured out how to pay for a state-mandated longer school day.
We need a series of public subject matter hearings around the state of Illinois to address school funding comprehensively. This should include discussions on how to maximize federal entitlement funds; the manner in which TIFs impact local school funding and put additional drains on property taxes and state funding; mechanisms to increase accountability and transparency from charter schools; an equitable distribution of students with special needs among charter schools and traditional public schools.
Here’s our position paper with more details about our reasons for opposing this bill and recommendations going forward. It also includes links to your state representative ilga.gov pages with contact information.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dwayne Truss, the chief organizer for the Progressive Action Coalition for Education (PACE), at email@example.com.
Rep. Turner can be contacted by calling (217) 782-8116 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.