Chicago Ridge School District 127.5 superintendent on school funding: 'Something has to give'
Senate Bill 1, a bill that would affect school funding, recently passed the Illinois Senate last week. According to an analysis by the Illinois State Board of Education and obtained by South Cook News, 13 South Cook schools would lose some of their funding while 46 schools would see an increase.
The ISBE analysis conducted last summer is the only known analysis of SB 1.
South Cook News sent an article it published on how the schools would be impacted under the proposal to Chicago Ridge School District 127.5 Superintendent Kevin B. Russell to get his take on the matter.
Q: What are your thoughts on the proposed school funding formula under SB 1?
Senate Bill 1 would greatly improve the amount of educational services District 127.5 would be able to provide. However, it should be noted that the State has not funded the current model. The District remains very skeptical that the State will be able to generate the revenue called for in SB 1.
Q: What impact would this bill have on your district's finances?
Currently, the State owes District 127.5 over 1 million dollars in categorical payments for this school year alone. SB 1 would provide CRSD 127.5 with over a million dollars in new revenue. If the State fully funds it obligations (which it is yet to do this year) and passes SB1, District 127.5 could receive an additional two million dollars in new money. This money would immediately be put to use to level the playing field and fully fund much needed educational programs.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add?
With the risk of sounding cynical, District 127.5 is not optimistic SB 1 will ever become law. The State is so far in the red and without additional revenue and a looming property tax freeze, it is hard to imagine how the money will be generated. Districts like Chicago Ridge 127.5 need additional funds to level the playing field in order for our students have access to the same high quality education and opportunities available in other districts. The staff of District 127.5 does an amazing job with the limited number of resources made available by the State. The State continues to place more mandates on districts (English Learning, fee waivers, lead testing, special education, transportation, etc), yet fails to provide adequate funding. Something has to give, however a solution does not appear to be in sight.