On May 16th, the United Congregations of Metro East (UCM) held a prayer event outside the district office of State Representative Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) in support of the passage of Senate Bill 231, sparking a local debate on the issue of fair school funding. Currently, the Illinois House of Representatives is considering a new school funding proposal (SB 231) which takes over $10 million from schools located in the metro east, including a $205 million bailout for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) pensions at the expense of schools throughout Illinois.
“I support fully funding our schools in the metro east, but I can’t support legislation that will take money away from any school in my district,” said Rep. Kay. “The current proposal would also cause local property taxes to increase – which I oppose. Even worse, the education bill before the House takes millions away from schools in my district and sends metro east money to schools in Chicago.”
Both State Rep. Dwight Kay and his Democrat opponent Katie Stuart of Edwardsville attended the prayer event for school funding on Monday. At the conclusion of the prayer event both Kay and Stuart were asked of their opinion on the school funding bill. Rep. Kay said he was reviewing the proposal, after Kay reviewed the legislation Monday evening he determined the new school funding bill would be harmful to schools in the metro east. However, his opponent Katie Stuart said on video at the event she is in support of SB 231 and even stated the following Tuesday morning on Facebook, “Thank you to the United Congregations of Metro East for inviting me to participate in your vigil to support SB 231 and equitable school funding for all students in Illinois.” Stuart went on to say, “The speakers did a great job in highlighting the disastrous results from inadequate funding of programs in the Granite City district. I sincerely hope the bill passes in the house with enough votes to protect it against a veto by the governor.”
Senate Bill 231 shortchanges metro east schools without the Adequacy Grant. In fact, without the Adequacy Grant, Edwardsville CUSD #7 would lose $5 million in state funding, O’Fallon Township High School would lose $1.1 million, Roxana CUSD #1 would lose $1.6 million, O’Fallon CCSD #90 would lose $1.9 million, Central School District #104 would lose $520,000, Shiloh Village SD #85 would lose $219,000, Bethalto CCSD #8 would lose $116,000, Grant CCSD #110 would lose $97,000 and it gets worse for the majority of schools in Illinois.
Rep. Kay added, “The education funding formula is in desperate need of an overhaul which is why I support fully funding all schools in Illinois. I realize the education funding formula is a very complex issue, however, it is disappointing that my opponent supports diverting money from metro east schools to bailout schools in Chicago. With that said, I appreciate the UCM praying for the legislature because we need an education funding bill that funds our schools fully and fairly.”
Senate Bill 231 was approved by the Illinois Senate on May 10th by a vote of 31 voting in favor, 21 in opposition and 3 voting present. As of May 20th, the legislation awaits approval before the House Executive Committee. SB 231 will need $600 million more in order to prevent metro east schools from losing more than $10 million.