Senator Bush being interviewed in the CapitolSPRINGFIELD – The latest school funding reform numbers show that a fake news group backed by Gov. Bruce Rauner was indeed pedaling misinformation regarding public school funding in Illinois in the weeks leading up to approval of a historic education finance overhaul.

“The State Board of Education’s analysis of Senate Bill 1 proves what proponents have been saying all along—no school districts in Illinois would lose money under the new formula,” said Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake). “The Lake County Gazette – conservative political propaganda disguised as a newspaper, funded by hyper-partisan WIND talk show host Dan Proft – tried to mislead Illinoisans by using an analysis of a completely different school funding reform bill from last year and claiming that the numbers in that analysis were from Senate Bill 1.”

An analysis only recently made public by Rauner’s education agency shows that no school districts in Illinois would lose money under the plan lawmakers recently approved. In fact, schools in the 31st District are estimated to gain $11,539,070 in state funding under the Senate’s plan. Supporters had said holding the line on funding was key to getting support for the overhaul that does away with the current, antiquated funding system and instead targets new state dollars to schools facing the toughest economic and educational challenges.

“Republicans are going around the state pushing fake information and making up excuses because the truth is they voted against a bill that would help their local schools,” Bush said.

The new plan seeks to maintain funding for schools that are doing well while increasing support for those that are struggling. It’s a reform more than two decades in the works and one that still faces major political obstacles.

Gov. Rauner was already threatening to veto the historic education overhaul even before lawmakers had given it final approval. As a result, the Senate is delaying sending the paperwork to the governor’s desk in hope cooler heads will prevail and the governor will recognize he’s getting a win on a key policy he’s wanted.

Rauner promised to change the school funding system and put his hand-picked education secretary in charge of an elite taskforce. But that taskforce failed to deliver an actual plan. Lawmakers stepped in to finish the job of not just drafting the plan, but then approving it.

In the midst of this work, a fake news site began spreading erroneous numbers, saying schools across the state were going to lose money. These numbers appeared on political news sites such as the Lake County Gazette. 

It was later revealed that the so-called latest numbers were actually pulled out of a different plan from more than a year ago. Unfortunately, Rauner and his education secretary never warned public school administrators and the taxpaying public to set the record straight on public school funding.

“Dan Proft and the Lake County Gazette are attempting to misinform readers by pretending to be a real, objective newspaper and pushing fake news to unsuspecting readers,” Bush said. “The Lake County Gazette’s attempt to intentionally misinform Illinoisans is absolutely disgraceful. Illinoisans deserve to know the truth.”


Category: Press Releases

Senator Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Lake County school districts, some of which have been shortchanged for decades under Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation education funding formula, will see a significant influx of funding under a landmark school funding reform measure that passed in Springfield last week.

“All children should have access to a quality education regardless of their zip code,” said Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake). “With Senate Bill 1, we created a more equitable school funding formula to aid school districts desperately in need of additional dollars, while ensuring that at a minimum we guaranteed current funding levels for every school district.”

Senate Bill 1 has strong support from thousands of school administrators, superintendents, principals, educators, taxpayers and advocates for fair school funding. Illinois’ school funding formula has not been updated in more than 20 years and is considered one of the worst in the nation because it relies so heavily on local property wealth.

“Senate Bill 1 not only ensures schools will be funded more equitably, it also provides property tax relief for high tax school districts,” Bush said. “Lake County has some of the highest property taxes in the country. I urge Governor Rauner to provide property tax relief for Lake County residents by signing Senate Bill 1 into law.”

Funding Illinois’ Future – a coalition that advocates for school funding reform – released an analysis of Illinois State Board of Education figures last week. The analysis showed potential funding increases for local school districts under Senate Bill 1, an evidence-based model that accounts for factors such as students with disabilities, English language learners and low-income students.

It also provides extra support for the neediest districts in the quest for adequate funding, and it offers property tax relief.

Again, no school district would receive less funding under Senate Bill 1 than they have received under Illinois’ current school funding formula.

The estimated overall gain some area school districts would experience under the Funding Illinois’ Future analysis of SB1 based on FY17 funding levels:

•    Round Lake Area School District 116 – $5.52 million
•    Zion-Benton Township High School District 126 – $1.95 million
•    Zion Elementary School District 6 – $1.62 million
•    Beach Park Community Consolidated School District 3 – $645,463
•    Grayslake Community Consolidated School District 46 – $353,068
•    Grayslake Community High School District 127 – $307,304
•    Warren Township High School District 121 – $282,621
•    Big Hollow School District 38 – $230,977
•    Wauconda Community Unit School District 118 – $215,152
•    Woodland Community Consolidated School District 50 – $192,036
•    Antioch Community Consolidated School District 34 – $90,190
•    Gavin School District 37 – $62,538
•    Millburn Community Consolidated School District 24 – $40,925
•    Winthrop Harbor School District 1 – $22,473

In addition, under Senate Bill 1, those that live in the school districts with the highest property taxes would be eligible for property tax relief up to 1 percent of their EAV. The following districts are projected to qualify for property tax relief:

•    Grayslake Community Consolidated School District 46 – $3.96 million
•    Round Lake Area School District 116 – $3.61 million
•    Grayslake Community High School District 127 – $2.71 million
•    Beach Park Community Consolidated School District 3 – $2.27 million
•    Zion-Benton Township High School District 126 – $1.82 million
•    Zion Elementary School District 6 – $1.05 million
•    Wauconda Community Unit School District – $109,162

These estimates are based on the funding levels proposed by the Illinois House of Representatives. As a result, these numbers may be higher than what the school districts will receive. To review the Funding Illinois’ Future analysis, visit


Category: Press Releases

Senator Bush speaks on the Senate floorSPRINGFIELD – Illinois legislators will not receive a planned, automatic increase in mileage reimbursements or per diem rates thanks to a measure from Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) that passed in the Illinois Senate today.

“Today marks the 700th day since the state of Illinois has had a budget,” Bush said. “At a time when human service providers are being forced to shut their doors, state universities are laying off professors and administrators are wondering if schools will be funded and be able to open in the fall, it would be inexcusable for legislators to receive a pay increase.”

House Bill 643 freezes the Illinois General Assembly's mileage reimbursement and per diem rates for the upcoming year. In addition, the initiative eliminates the planned FY 18 cost of living adjustment for the members of the legislature and other offices set by the Compensation Review Board. The Comptroller's Office states that the FY 18 cost of living adjustment would be 2.1% without the passage of a freeze.

“Middle-class and working families rarely see pay raises, let alone automatic pay increases,” Bush said. “There is no reason that legislators should receive automatic cost of living adjustments.”

Having passed both chambers with bipartisan support, House Bill 643 now goes to the governor’s desk.


Category: Press Releases

Senator Melinda Bush speaks on the Senate floorTo listen to Senator Bush’s floor speech, click here:

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois property owners will get much-needed tax relief thanks to a measure that passed in the Illinois Senate today.

State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) spoke in support of the measure during the Senate floor debate and urged her Republican colleagues to start standing up to Governor Rauner and do the right thing for the people of Illinois.

“We voted for property tax relief last week, and only two Republican senators supported the measure. We voted on a Republican budget plan, and the Republicans wouldn’t support it. Today, we again voted for property tax relief, and only three Republicans supported it. The Senate Republicans have shown time and again that they aren’t even brave enough to vote for their own ideas. It’s absurd,” Bush said.

“These are the same people who tell the Democrats to stand up to Speaker Madigan. He isn’t dictating our decisions. The Senate Democrats have repeatedly stood up and taken politically risky votes because it’s the right thing to do. It’s about time for Republicans to walk the walk and stand up to Governor Rauner, who has done nothing but derail budget negotiations and move the goal posts every time the Senate passes the reforms he’s spent the past two years demanding. Enough is enough.”  

Senate Bill 484 establishes a freeze for levy years 2017 and 2018 for school districts. With its passage, Senate Democrats have now passed pension reform, education funding reform, local government consolidation, property tax freezes, term limits on legislative leaders and a balanced budget plan – all of which Rauner said must be passed before he’ll sign a budget.  

“The Senate has passed a balanced budget and all of Governor Rauner’s non-budgetary reforms,” Bush said. “After two years of Rauner’s fake governing, it’s time for the governor to drop the folksy act, quit making excuses and passing blame and actually start doing the job he was elected to do.”


Category: Press Releases

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