For a bill which is not going anywhere anytime soon, the proposal to make more of K-12 education funding need-based, Senate Bill 16, generated hours of discussion Tuesday. A hearing before a combined House education panel followed a Rotunda rally. Everybody seems to agree the way Illinois pays for public education is broken, but plenty of people believe SB 16, as passed by the Senate in the spring, is not the answer.
“We do not believe that a bill that creates winners and losers, that pits districts against one another, that hurts kids across the state, is the right answer,” said James Gay, superintendent of the Consolidated High School District 230 in Orland Park. Some lawmakers are put in a tough spot. State Rep. Fred Crespo (D-Hoffman Estates) remarked, “Under Senate Bill 16, the biggest winner would be U-46, which happens to be in my district, and the biggest loser would be School District 54, which is in my district as well.”
A representative of the Illinois State Board of Education told lawmakers the bill is “a good first step.” House education leaders said the bill is not being called as is.
The fall veto session began Wednesday in Springfield.