SB1 – Evidence Based Funding for IL?

“We have to be able to count on each other doing what we have agreed to do.”
– Unknown

In Illinois, school funding is a major issue of inadequacy and inequity. The Illinois Constitution, in Article X, states:

    A fundamental goal of the People of the State is the
educational development of all persons to the limits of their
capacities. The State shall provide for an efficient system of high
quality public educational institutions and services. Education in public schools through the secondary level shall
be free. There may be such other free education as the
General Assembly provides by law. The State has the primary responsibility for financing
the system of public education. (Source: Illinois Constitution.)

Sadly in our school district 94% of financing for the public education comes from local sources – primarily the local property taxes. We must get the funding system back into a sustainable process.

With this blog post, I’m keeping you informed about legislation, politics, and a Vision 20/20 inspired bill called SB1. Read more if desired from the CTBA (Center for Tax and Budget Accountability).

In the State of Illinois the budget passed – this is the first state budget in two years – this is a “big deal”. For public education, though, the school funding “nuts and bolts” legislation is not yet approved and school starts in less than a month!

The following news article is written by Jessica Handy of Stand for Children. The mission of Stand For Children Illinois is:


We make that happen by:

  • Empowering everyday people to make a difference for their kids, schools, and communities.
  • Championing a bold and bipartisan approach to politics.
  • Advocating for lasting policies that improve education.


Confused About Budget & Funding Reform Link?

Current Events & NewsLegislationSchool Funding |07/07/2017

Jessica Handy
Government Affairs Director
Jessica works with parents, legislators, and other stakeholders to push for policy that puts children first.

Confused About the Link Between the Budget and School Funding Reform?

It all goes hand in hand: you can’t spend money you don’t have through a formula that doesn’t exist. That’s why in order to fix our worst-in-the-nation funding formula, ensure schools open this fall, and put our education system on a path of renewed stability, we need to enact three bills:

1. Senate Bill 1, to fix our broken school funding system.

2. Senate Bill 6, to appropriate the money to pay for schools (among other things).

3. Senate Bill 9, to support the revenue needed to pay for the budget.

About SB1: The Funding Formula

SB1 is the school funding formula overhaul that passed the House and Senate on May 31. School leaders and advocates from across the state support the Evidence-Based Funding Model created in the bill as a once-in-a-generation chance to fix Illinois’s outdated and inequitable school funding system. The Governor has said he will veto the bill, even though all schools win and the framework aligns with recommendations of his own commission.

SB1 is the only funding formula that has passed the state legislature in 20 years. Multitudes of others have been filed but failed, including a recent one that would require at least six committee and floor super-majority votes to get as far as SB1. As a practical matter and as a lead publication has said, that last-minute attempt “appears DOA.”

About SB6: The Budget

SB6, which was enacted into law with the General Assembly’s override of the Governor’s veto, authorizes state spending for the fiscal year that just started. It includes increases in the education budget, but overall, the budget spends about $2.5 billion less than current spending levels. The education budget is consistent with the school funding structure in SB1. Almost all of the state’s appropriation to schools would flow through the new, integrated Evidence-Based Funding Model. That’s $6.7 billion. Without an Evidence-Based Funding Model in place to fund the budget, schools would be out that $6.7 billion.

The reality is that last year, the legislature essentially froze the General State Aid formula in place and sent new school funds through a temporary “equity grant.” Our main funding formula has been put on hold for over a year now. Last year’s budget took a small step toward improving school funding equity, but also created the situation we’re in this year where there is no active, functioning school funding formula. Both the Republican-drafted budget in SB2214 and the Democrat-drafted budget in SB6 appropriated school funding through a new evidence-based model. It is critical that SB1 be enacted so that schools get the funding they need to open their doors this fall.

SB9: The Revenue Bill

SB9 restores most of the income tax increase that lapsed two and a half years ago. This bill is the hardest part of the package, but one that 72 courageous and compassionate representatives voted to pass this week (71 representatives voted to override the Governor’s veto and enact it into law). No one likes tax increases, but the prevalent kick-the-can-down-the-road attitude in Illinois has led to years of spending without having money in the bank to pay for it. Many who voted for SB9 are fiscal conservatives who understand that the interest on the debt that’s growing every day will necessitate bigger tax hikes the longer we wait.

With $15 billion in unpaid bills and almost three years without a full budget, this is the critical piece of the package that will finally provide the stability that our schools need for long-term planning. Categorical payments are months delayed. General State Aid payments had been made on time, but a recent court ruling put in serious jeopardy the state’s ability to even continue making those payments in a timely fashion. And only 144 of over 850 school districts have 90-days cash on hand.

Without the revenue bill, there is no doubt in my mind that some schools would be unable to keep their doors open this year. The schools most impacted by this delayed payment cycle are the neediest districts.

The Conclusion

The budget only works if we have the evidence-based model in place. The evidence-based model only works if we have a budget to fund it. Schools can’t count on state payments for the evidence-based model or anything else unless we have revenue in place to pay for it. These three bills are all interconnected.

If your state senator or representative voted for SB9, say thanks! They stepped up and put kids ahead of politics. But while you’re at it, remind them that the job isn’t done until SB1 also becomes law. You can visit our action center to help get SB1 over the finish line here.

DPS109 Pride – IL Governor Visits District

“Willingness to change is a strength, even if it means plunging part of the company into total confusion for a while.”
– Jack Welch

Today the Honorable Bruce Rauner, Governor of the state of Illinois, visited Alan B. Shepard Middle School in our District! The Governor is on a tour of the state visiting schools, businesses and communities as part of his messaging and visioning in his first 90 days in office. In Deerfield we represent one of the Governor’s hometown school districts. He attended grade school and part of jr. high school in our district. It is an honor to host the state’s chief executive officer as we showcase the excellence of an award winning public school district. Illinois has been in

Governor Rauner addressing the sixth grade students at Shepard Middle School
Governor Rauner addressing the sixth grade students at Shepard Middle School

business since 1818 and the Deerfield public schools have been educating students since 1847 – our histories are long and deep in terms of the American story. We have experienced ups, downs, and “in betweens”. Right now Illinois is at a critical point in history and public education is at the crossroads and often in the cross hairs. Our Governor supports strong education and strong economic growth. Just as DPS109 is in a period of transformational change and growth, so too is our state. The Governor’s staff was outstanding to work with – those with whom we interacted reflect the best and brightest and each member of the staff was highly professional, courteous, respectful and professional!

In DPS109, each day we aim to Engage, Inspire, Empower each and every student each and every day. With the Governor’s visit we were able to share real life examples of outstanding local governance and local financial planning. The Board of Education’s stewardship of the public trust and public finances is leading to world class education transforming education for all of our children. Today we were able to share new science labs that reflect our recent world class facilities improvements. These major renovations to the learning spaces in science and STEM are a reality as a direct result of prudent fiscal management of the Board of Education through responsible and innovative use of general state aid. In addition, it is a source of great pride that we were also able to share amazing students and teachers with the highest office holder in our great state. The Governor was wonderful and quite personable in answering student questions, engaging in real and meaningful dialogue and for spending quality time seeing how his hometown school district has grown and changed in the years since he last attended. The sixth grade students were honored to have had the chance to shake the Governor’s hand and to take a group picture and more importantly, to have had their questions answered by a man who many years ago played in the band in the same space where we interacted today – in the Shepard gym!

We chose our new science/STEM labs for his visit as they showcase our Board’s look forward to the future. One of the reasons that last year’s Superintendent’s Task Force for Middle Level Education’s STEM subcommittee recommended upgrading all 12 middle school science classroom/labs was in support of our nation and state’s economic growth. The future for our students is in technology, software, engineering, collaboration, communication, critical thinking, collaboration, as well as a focus on excellence and competitiveness. As the home to major corporate headquarters for science and technology companies like Takeda, ILSiemens, Walgreens, and others, it’s incumbent upon us to provide world class educational opportunities in our public school district. This year we welcomed scientific expertise in science fair judging as well as in model lesson instruction from local experts from Takeda and Siemens. In addition, we have a focus on girls in STEM, also launched from our community engagement process, and we have leading female role models in our community leading girls in STEM clubs at our K-5 schools during the day! For these and other reasons we were proud and happy and motivated to welcome a visit from our state’s chief executive.

Showing the governor solar panels and wind turbines at Shepard

His visit to our district was a “big deal” to us and our school was shining like it was the opening day! Governor Rauner’s staff members were outstanding to work with and while at Shepard, he toured learning spaces, met with students and with district and community leaders. The learning spaces he toured were the new science/STEM classroom/labs, renewable energy modules, and learning spaces built last summer and serving as prototype labs for this summer’s construction of eight new science labs at Caruso and Shepard. In the picture at the right, Governor Rauner, Principal Filippi, Board President Schwartz, and I are discussing the solar panels and the electricity-producing wind turbines outside of the science labs.

In addition to visiting the world class science labs and addressing all sixth grade students, Governor Rauner also spent some time with the district executive leadership team, school principals and elected local officials including members of the Board of Education. The video clip below showing me, the Governor and the president of our school board provides a snapshot into our time together.


Governor Bruce Rauner Visits DPS109 from Michael Lubelfeld on Vimeo.


The Governor with our sixth grade students and teachers
The Governor with our sixth grade students and teachers

The job/role of a superintendent is that of support and advocacy. Support for student education, support for teacher learning and growth, and support for Board governance. In addition, the role/job involves knowing the political landscape insofar as policy and legislation is concerned. This year a coalition of six major state organizations representing superintendents, board members, administrators, principals, business officials, and others joined forces in support of Vision 20/20:

Fulfilling the Promise of Public Education in Illinois. In December I posted on the blog about this Vision and on February 9, 2015, the DPS109 Board of Education joined hundreds of other Illinois School Districts and signed a proclamation in support of Vision 20/20. The Vision 20/20 premise is basically a group of professionals and leaders in the state joining together to state and advocate what we are FOR as opposed to stating what we are against. Some slides from their site are shared below as a graphic example of what this is all about: Highly Effective Teachers, 21st Century Learning, Shared Accountability and Adequate and Equitable Funding.

In addition to the serious tour, talks about renewable energy and policy, the Governor showed his personal side in taking a “selfie” with one of our all star teachers Christian Ball, who asked the Governor if he would take a picture of the “science fist” for his science students!

Governor Rauner and science teacher Christian Ball doing the "science fist"
Governor Rauner and science teacher Christian Ball doing the “science fist”