Local Issues Director: Jayne Boeckelman The League of Women Voters of Glen Ellyn
Our chapter of the League follows major issues of interest to our membership; each area is the responsibility of a local issues director. They track legislation and items of particular timely interest. Our Observer Corps attends meetings to report back to the board and members on key issues.
LATEST REPORT: February 16, 2018
STATE AND NATIONAL
In August, 2017, the Illinois Legislature passed legislation re-vamping the way the state provides financial support for K-12 education. Illinois ranks 50th of the states in the amount of state funding for education. Consequently, school districts rely on property taxes to fund the schools which creates greater inequity in educational opportunities in poorer districts. The Evidence Based Funding Model was adopted to provide funding based on the needs of the districts so that all students in the state can receive an adequate education. In order to reach this goal, the state needs to provide additional funding. The Governor’s budget proposal actually reduces the amount provided for state funding. One of his proposals is to shift 25% of pension costs, usually paid by the state, to individual districts. This would cause districts to use money from property taxes normally used to educate students to pay this pension obligation instead. In addition, the Illinois House passed a bill in 2017 that would freeze property taxes for 2 years. That bill has not yet been considered in the Illinois Senate.
The Illinois State Board of Education has announced that an Illinois Assessment of Readiness test will be developed to replace PARCC after 2018.
The District 41 Board is continuing to monitor the plans for the addition to Hadley Junior High and the renovation at Churchill Elementary School. This construction is being funded by the referendum which was approved by voters in 2017.
In December, 2017, the D41 Board approved setting the levy for the next year at the same level as the current year. The League of Women Voters of Glen Ellyn read the following statement at the December 18 meeting.
The League of Women Voters supports providing the best possible education for our children. The D41 Board has been diligent in their desire to look at long-range funding for the District and tonight the Board is going to make an important decision regarding the funding of the educational program in District 41. The League of Women Voters of Glen Ellyn urges the Board to request the maximum levy permitted under the current guidelines for the following reasons:
· Failure to do so could hamper the work of future Boards by restricting the amount of the levy they are able to request.
· The request for the maximum allowable levy does not guarantee it will be set at that rate but it gives future Boards the ability to respond to changing financial conditions or educational goals and programs, such as providing all-day kindergarten.
· The Finance Advisory Committee recommended continuing to fully capture a CPI increase in the levy in order to allow for the fulfillment of the District Long Range Plan.
· The schools in Glen Ellyn are a big factor that draws people to live in Glen Ellyn.
· Because Glen Ellyn is a “bedroom community,” the major portion of property tax is paid by homeowners rather than business or industry, but the excellent educational system helps to maintain the value of the homes in Glen Ellyn.
· Other considerations include the financial condition of the State of Illinois and costs that may be passed to the local school districts.
o With the funding crisis in the pension systems, there is the possibility that at least a portion of the pension payments, usually made by the State, could be passed to the local Districts which could become a large financial burden locally.
o There is also the possibility that the State may pass a property tax freeze, which could eliminate the ability for schools to increase the levy by the cost of living which our schools are currently allowed to do.
o There is the possibility that the legislature may not pass an appropriation to fully fund the education bill.
Again, the League of Women Voters of Glen Ellyn strongly supports setting the levy at the maximum allowable amount to help to stabilize funding that will continue to provide an outstanding educational program for our students.
Michelle Peterson & Amy Hohulin, Co-presidents, League of Women Voters of Glen Ellyn
The D41 Board voted 4-3 to request the same amount as the current levy with no increase at the meeting on December 18. The meeting can be viewed at D41.org.
District 89 (www.ccsd89.org) is experiencing an increase in enrollment. The District held discussions regarding new boundaries for the schools to relieve overcrowding at some of the buildings since 2016. Discussions were held with community members, staff, and parents. Public discussions have occurred at Board meetings and more than a dozen other public meetings. The decision has been made to gradually phase in the new boundaries in 2018-2019 allowing children currently in grades K-4 to complete those years in the school they are now attending.
The anticipated increase in enrollment is expected to require 10.4 additional full-time teachers by 2021-2022. More information is available at www.ccsd89.org.
District 87 (www.glenbard87.org) hosts a Parent Series that is open to the public. LWVGE will be cooperating in sponsoring the presentation by Dr. Ruja Benjamin, Asst. Professor of African-American Studies at Princeton University on March 1 at 7 p.m. The presentation will be at Glenbard South High School, 23W200 Butterfield Road, Glen Ellyn. Highlights of the D87 Board meetings
Latest EDUCATION Observer Group Report
D41 Observers – Michelle Peterson and I have been attending D41 Board meetings for more than two years. We have written reports to be placed on the LWVGE website. District 41 is now posting summaries of the meetings on their website and linking the discussions to the actual time on the archived videos of the meetings. We encourage interested parties to visit D41.org and click on School Board. Board videos and summaries of the meetings can be found at this link. We are continuing to observe the meetings and will report on items of interest.
- Jayne Boeckelman
OFFICIAL POSITION OF THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF ILLINOIS:
SCHOOLS: LWVIL supports a system of high quality elementary and secondary schools for all children in Illinois, which provides for local control of school program and budget within minimum program requirements set by the State. The State should provide leadership to local communities for program development and should set standards for recognition and accreditation of schools. Educational programs’ effectiveness should be evaluated regularly. The League favors minimum standards for graduation and promotionofstudents. LWVILsupportsincreased professionalism for teachers including stringent teacher preparation standards, comprehensive teacher and principal evaluations, changes in tenure, and increased teacher compensation. The State should assume the major responsibility for funding public schools and guarantee an adequate level of financial support. Schools should be provided stable, reliable, and adequate revenue through a combination of federal, state and local sources.
LWVIL supports accountability, transparency, and equity in the use of public funds for education, including charter schools. Charter school authorizers should evaluate the performance of existing charters before granting new charters or approving additional campuses. The authority for approving and renewing charters should reside exclusively in the local school board.