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 fundingilfuture.org.

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Category: Press Releases

Illinois House chamberLake County News-Sun - June 1, 2017 | original article

By Jim Newton

Lake County legislators on both sides of the aisle are expressing anger, frustration and — in some cases — a shared sense of disappointment in top leadership of both parties as the state's dire budget woes continue.

After the state legislature's spring session closed Wednesday without the passage of a budget, further prolonging a situation dating back two years, both Republican and Democratic senators and state representatives bemoaned another lost opportunity.

"The Senate passed a balanced budget and passed it to the (Illinois) House. Now the speaker and the governor need to put down their swords," State Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, said Thursday of Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Bush, who called the amount of time Illinois has gone without a budget "unprecedented" in the modern era, lauded a bipartisan committee of legislators that has been working for months to reach compromises on issues of contention and soften party lines. But she added that both Rauner and Madigan continue to effectively steer votes along party lines.

The Senate's passage of the budget, without one supporting Republican vote, leaves the matter in the hands of the House, but Madigan's decision not to call a vote by the end of May means the legislature will now need a three-fifths super-majority to approve budget items.

Bush said that will make the task even more difficult, and the projected income-tax increase that will be needed to address the state's current $14.4 billion debt will only get higher with each year that a budget is not passed.

She added that the budget proposal passed by the Senate, which included many of the conditions Rauner has said he wants, would result in an income-tax increase of about 4.9 percent, and that "if it goes on for another year, we're going to need a 6 percent increase."

The state legislature is expected to reconvene before the end of June. The state's fiscal year ends June 30.
Summer rerun: Session ends with Democrats, Rauner failing to cut budget deal

"We're not giving up. We're still here for a month, and we have a group of bipartisan legislators still trying (to reach compromise)," Bush said.

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Category: In The News

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.


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Category: Press Releases

Illinois State CapitolThe State Journal-Register - May 30, 2017 | original article

By Doug Finke

Illinois senators Tuesday approved bills that impose a two-year property tax freeze for school districts and local governments outside of Chicago.

The legislation – Senate Bill 482 and Senate Bill 484 – now go to the House.

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office, which has sought a four-year property tax freeze, labeled the bills “phony.”

Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said the legislation fulfills Rauner’s desire to have a property tax freeze as a condition of the General Assembly raising taxes to balance the budget.

“This is a full property tax freeze,” Cullerton said. “The question is the length. My philosophy is two years is a really good start, and if it is so popular, we can come back and do it again.”

That wasn’t good enough for Senate Republicans, most of whom voted against the bills.

“We have the highest property taxes in the entire country,” said Sen. Karen McConnaughay, R-St. Charles. “It’s one of the driving reasons why people leave the state of Illinois. If we are going to pass a massive income tax (hike), don’t we think the very least we can do for the people of Illinois is to give them more relief than what is being presented?”

“If we pretend to care about our constituents, we need to do more than a two-year freeze,” said Sen. Chapin Rose, R-Mahomet.

Sen. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake, said Republicans were unwilling to buck Rauner in the name of compromise.

“The Senate Democrats have stood up and done the right thing,” Bush said. “If we really want to change the trajectory, you’ve got to get the cojones over there to stand up to Gov. Rauner. It’s time to do the right thing. Stop the damn politics.”

In the end, though, only three Republicans voted for the two bills – Sam McCann of Plainview, Sue Rezin of Morris and Kyle McCarter of Lebanon. Nine other Republicans voted “present” on both bills.

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Category: In The News

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