The legislative session in Springfield ended last week with no resolution to education funding reform as proposed in Senate Bill 16. Amendments 3, 5 and 6 of the bill passed the Senate on May 27 and moved to the House where it was referred to the Rules Committee. The General Assembly is not expected to meet again until the veto session in November.

If enacted into law, SB 16, as amended, will make sweeping changes in how the State funds education. The bill does not increase the level of education funding, but changes the way in which limited State funding is apportioned among school districts. Generally, school districts with higher assessed property values will receive much less State funding.  

The Illinois State Board of Education has calculated the amount each school district would receive next year if SB 16, as amended, becomes law. District 65 would lose 85% of its State funding or $6.5 million per year. School District 202 would lose 81% of its funding, or $2.2 million per year. The cuts to each District would be phased in over a four-year period.

The Joint District 65/202 Community Legislative Committee plans to meet with local legislators and ED-RED (an organization that advocates for suburban school districts in the Illinois Statehouse) over the summer to discuss SB 16 and other significant legislation.

“We don’t know where this is headed,” according to Gretchen Livingston, District 202 School Board president, “but it’s an issue we need to keep an eye on for sure.”

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...