ABC 7 Chicago - July 17, 2017 | original article

By Sarah Schulte

video

Gov. Bruce Rauner is now calling on the leaders in Springfield to release a bill that reforms public school funding in the state.

He's threatening to use another tactic he says will give even more money for more classrooms.

The governor says he will not sign into law a new school funding formula bill unless money is moved from Chicago Public Schools to other districts.

The bi-partisan Senate bill 1 fixes what many say is a decades-old broken education funding system.

With a school year set to begin in a few weeks, superintendents from around the state strongly support it.

Lake County school superintendents hope a new state funding formula will promise more equity among all school districts, regardless of their zip code.

"No district loses money, I can tell you from my districts prospective in particular it was important for us to make sure there was no Robin Hood scenario going on," said Brian Harris, superintendent of Barrington 220 School District.

On Monday, Harris stood with superintendents from poorer school districts urging Gov. Rauner to sign SB 1, a bill that changes the funding formula to an evidence-based system which means lower-income districts, who don't have a strong property base, will no longer be short changed.

"The current state funding model Round Lake has lost over $18 million from 2012-2016," said Constance Collins, superintendent of the Round Lake Area School District 116.

However, Rauner said SB1 is nothing more than a pension bailout for CPS. He plans an amendatory veto that diverts money from CPS to other school districts.

"Chicago will not get the money, Decatur is going to get the money. And do you know how much more money Decatur teachers and students are going to get? $1.6 million per year. Think about that," Rauner said.

SB 1 supporters said the bill is not a CPS bailout.

"There are 268 districts that get more money per pupil than Chicago in this formula," said state Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake.

In a written response to the governor's plan for an amendatory veto, CPS calls it illegal and a stunt.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said it's unfortunate that Rauner is pursuing a political path rather than a productive one.

While CPS schools will open on time, there are others threatening not to open unless SB 1 is signed into law.

Category: In The News

GURNEE—Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) joined with local superintendents and community leaders to call on Governor Bruce Rauner to sign Senate Bill 1 into law. The bill fixes our state’s broken education funding system. Principals and other local officials joined in calling on local legislators to support the Evidence-Based Model for Student Success Act (otherwise known as SB1).

"Every child in Illinois deserves a high-quality education that sets them up for the American Dream,” said Senator Bush. “Here in Gurnee, and in too many other communities across Illinois, our schools are facing a crisis – the prospect of not being able to open their doors in the fall. The solution to this crisis is a simple one and one that’s nearly complete: Governor Rauner needs to sign SB1 into law and fix our state’s worst-in-the-nation school funding system."

Participants at today’s event included:

  • Mimi Rodman, Executive Director, Stand for Children Illinois
  • Catherine Finger, former Superintendent, Grayslake High School District 127
  • Constance Collins, Superintendent, Round Lake Area School District 116
  • Jason Lind, Superintendent, Millburn District 24
  • Brian Harris, Superintendent of Schools, Barrington 220

“All kids, regardless of their zip code, deserve access to a high-quality education that prepares them for life,” said Rodman. “In the long term, SB1 ensures our children receive the quality education they need to live a prosperous life. In the short term, it ensures our schools open on time.”

Senate Bill 1 represents the first time a school funding overhaul has passed both chambers of the legislature in 20 years. The governor has threatened to veto the bill. Under SB1, no district would lose a penny of state or local resources and new funds would be strategically invested toward the most underfunded schools. The enacted budget includes $6.7 billion for evidence-based funding. However, without SB1 being enacted, the state has no evidence-based formula in place and, therefore, no authority to expend those funds.

“For generations, our state’s inequitable school funding formula has held our students back,” said Dr. Finger, former superintendent of Grayslake High School District 127. “SB1 is a clean break from the failed status quo. We know that a good education gives every child in Illinois a fair shot at prosperity. It’s time for our leaders in Springfield to put politics aside and focus on our children. It’s time for Governor Rauner to sign SB1 into law.”

Lake County is home to one of the most diverse regions of school districts in the state. Some districts are severely underfunded, while others are more fortunate. Area leaders agree on one critical point, which they echoed today: Illinois schools are depending on SB1.

“Our schools in Round Lake and across the state, from the suburbs to downstate, need certainty and stability regarding funding and opening our doors on time,” said Dr. Collins, superintendent of Round Lake Area School District 116. “SB1 is the only bill that provides us that certainty. We will not get our August 10 payment unless we have an evidence-based model in place. SB1 is the only evidence-based model that has passed the General Assembly.”

“When SB1 becomes law, our students will be the true winners,” said Dr. Lind, superintendent of Millburn District 24. “We need to ensure every student has the opportunity for a quality education that prepares them for the future. SB1 makes that investment for all Illinois children.”

“The evidence-based funding model is good for Barrington and it’s good for all districts across the state,” said Dr. Harris, superintendent of schools, Barrington 220. “Barrington wouldn’t lose a penny of state or local funding – no district would. The new formula will direct new resources to students across Illinois who need them the most.”

About SB1: The Evidence-Based Funding for Student Success Act (or SB1) that recently passed the General Assembly would fix our state’s unfair and inequitable school funding system. SB1 would bring a more equitable system that ensures all children receive the education they deserve.

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Category: Press Releases

Murphy School floodingChicago Tribune - July 14, 2017 | original article

By Frank S. Abderholden

Walking into W.J. Murphy Elementary School in Round Lake Park following this week's flooding, the first thing that comes to mind is either a bait shop or a bag of wet, dirty laundry.

"Too bad you can't post smell," said State Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, said on Friday in a Facebook live video on her cellphone while touring the Greenwood Drive school.

Murphy Elementary was devastated by flooding Wednesday after water knocked out a giant electrical box outside of the building and shut off power.

Shelia Duhon, executive director of operations for Round Lake Community Unit School District 116, toured the building with Bush and State Rep. Sam Yingling, D-Round Lake Beach. Duhon said the district has several post-flood issues at its schools, which covers 10 buildings from preschool through high school.

While Raymond Ellis Elementary School in Round Lake was also affected by the floods, the damage at Murphy was devastating, especially since students are scheduled to start school at the end of August, said Duhon.

"The library is really our epicenter of our whole building, and obviously, it's a total loss," she said.

Duhon added that "it's really hard to see the devastation" while looking over the library area of the school, where flood water had completely covered all the bookshelves.

The gymnasium was also flooded, and it is also used as the school's cafeteria. A music room was flooded along with a computer room — according to Duhon, all the computers were under water — and four of the fourth-grade classrooms had several feet of water. The schools computer server room was also located in the basement and was flooded.

Duhon said Friday that the water had receded some, but crews cannot pump it out until the water outside the school goes down. The school serves 533 students.

"We've contacted other districts, and we may have enough space at our other elementary schools to absorb the students," she said. The school has insurance, but the amount of water will mean replacing drywall and cleaning vents and walls.

"You are going to have to do mold remediation," said Yingling. "This is just terrible."

"We will also have to get a structural engineer to look at the building," Duhon said. The school has had some water issues in the past, and after another flood knocked out the electrical box, it was raised two feet when it was replaced, but that wasn't high enough.

"It's never been like this. It's never gotten (water) this high," she said.

Category: In The News

Lake County floods - photo credit Lake County, IL governmentGRAYSLAKE, IL – Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) and Representative Sam Yingling (D-Round Lake Beach) issued a joint statement in response to the governor’s visit to Lake County to tour flood sites:

“Lake County residents have been working to pick up the pieces after major flash floods hit the area. The governor has not declared a state of emergency for Lake County, so residents with devastating property damage and no flood insurance have been unable to get access to low-interest loans that help people rebuild.

“Today, the governor will be in Lake County touring flood sites. The devastation experienced by our constituents over the last few days needs to be seen to be understood. Clean up from this historic flooding is going to take all of us working together.

“With more flooding expected to occur this weekend, we urge Governor Rauner to do what Governor Walker has already done, declare a state of emergency and call in the National Guard to provide much-needed relief to flood victims. Lake County residents need this help immediately.”

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Photo Credit: Lake County, IL Government

Category: Press Releases

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