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Chicago Urban League Policy Update: SB1 and Educational Funding for Illinois

For Immediate Release

August 2, 2017

Sabrina Greig


Chicago Urban League Policy Update: SB1 and Educational Funding for Illinois

CHICAGO, IL. – August 2, 2017 – In light of Governor Rauner’s most recent veto of SB1, the Chicago Urban League would like to highlight that fighting over funding issues will fail to solve problems regarding Illinois’ budget for education.

“The Chicago Urban League has been fighting for equitable school funding for many years and SB1 provides the mechanism to provide fair funding for all of Illinois’ children.  The Governor’s actions continue that pattern of inequity and inequality that has been the hallmark of Illinois’ failed educational funding formula for decades, “said Shari Runner, President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League.

CPS is the only school district that double pays pensions – to a statewide fund that pays for all districts statewide except Chicago, and into CPS’ own separate teacher pension fund.  The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability found that in fiscal year 2016, Chicagoans paid more than $230 million for suburban and downstate teacher pensions.  Inclusion of the pension provisions within SB1 aligns the district with all the other districts in Illinois. Chicago’s block grant dollars are maintained under the statewide “hold harmless” provisions, which states that no district will lose money under the new funding formula.

Senate Bill 1 is the result of recommendations that came from the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission report, convened by Governor Rauner. This commission report recognized that both the Chicago block grant and the pension liabilities were outstanding issues that required resolution. SB1 reflects the Commission’s original recommendations, including the block grant and pension issues.

The Senate has a limited window to address the Governor’s amendatory veto. Time is of the essence, since payments to some districts are slated to begin in the next few weeks and without state funding many schools across the state will not have enough money to keep schools open past October.  This veto has unnecessarily delayed progress that was years in the making and continued the practice of providing unequal, funding based on zip code rather than need.


CALL TO ACTION: We encourage you to contact your state Senator and tell her/him you do not support the Governor’s changes to SB1.

We hope that both sides can come together to work out a compromise that best serves ALL the students of the state of Illinois, including Chicago’s children, fairly and equitably.


About the Chicago Urban League

Established in 1916, the Chicago Urban League works for economic, educational and social progress for African Americans and promotes strong sustainable communities through advocacy, collaboration and innovation. For more information, visit Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.