State Representative Brad Halbrook (R- Shelbyville), is pleased that a school funding plan has finally passed the Illinois House and now goes to the Illinois Senate for consideration. It took two tries but finally Senate Bill 1947 passed which is a compromise piece of legislation to provide adequacy and fairness for all school districts in Illinois.
“I know this proposal is not perfect but it will give some mandates relief to school districts and expands school choice for parents and students,” Rep. Halbrook said. “This legislation finally puts the state on a path to equitable school funding and no one loses in this compromise legislation. Also, the proposal to bail out Chicago Public Schools’ pension costs was taken out of this funding formula.”
This legislation would give the four legislative leaders the power to expedite those waivers. As well, physical education (PE) requirements would be rolled back from five days per week to three, and more students who play sports can be exempted from PE. Drivers’ education can be outsourced to private providers, which is common in many states.
This legislation would allow local voters to reduce their districts’ educational property tax levy by up to ten percent, but only if the levy wasn’t lowered below what’s considered to be 110 percent of “adequacy.” Ten percent of all registered voters in a school district would have to sign a petition to get the measure on the ballot. The new private school scholarship tax credit program in this historic piece of legislation is expected to be a big benefit for many schools. This tax credit program is a pilot program that would need to be renewed in five years when it’s due to sunset.
“I am pleased with the compromised legislation that includes a pilot program to allow for a tax credit program to allow for scholarships to low-income children to be able to attend a school of their choice,” added Rep. Halbrook. “There is also an opportunity for taxpayers to receive property tax relief and this is a good thing for the over-taxed people of Illinois,” concluded Halbrook.