New Education Funding Plan Fails Real Funding Issue

May 13, 2016
The Illinois Senate approved a new education funding formula for elementary and secondary public education May 10. Senator Kyle McCarter spoke against Senate Bill 231, which makes some changes to the state’s funding formula for K-12 education.

During debate, Sen. McCarter said changes to the current formula are not fair and equitable for all schools:

“Those who have chosen to tax themselves the most are penalized…because we give less to those who’ve chosen, by referendum, to raise their tax rates.”

Sen. McCarter also told colleagues constant arguments over competing funding ideas is misguided. The real debate should be about what the state can afford and its ability to keep its commitment:

“Whether this is the right formula or the Governor’s, or the existing (formula) – whatever formula you choose, the more important question is, can you keep your promise? How are we going to keep the promise? Are we going to say, let’s forgive another IOU to ourselves and generate some cash, magically, as we did just last Thursday (May 5)? Are we going to make a promise we won’t touch the Road Fund again even though we forgave the $250 million that we said we were going to pay back?

To say we care for kids…if you can’t pay for it, it doesn’t matter. We are either going to come up with some magical way of forgiving ourselves more debts or we’re backing ourselves into a tax increase. I personally don’t want to be any part of that.

There are other reforms that allow us to get there (funding for education) that need to be put on the table and discussed. Like any business, you would never fix one department and hope that everything else in the company would fix itself. You would never do that. You always look at the entire entity (the budget). We have to do that for this to be a promise that we can keep.”

The Senate voted 31-21-3. Senate Bill 231 now moves to the House for consideration where its fate is uncertain.

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