May 13th Legislative Alert from Superintendent Donna Gray
Pending Legislative Amendments - Negative Impact on District
Governor Rauner in his Turnaround Plan
for Illinois has
proposed a two year freeze on property taxes and there has been
additional talk about a permanent freeze.
As reported in Alliance Legislative Report (99-18), which can
be found at: http://www.iasb.com/govrel/alr9918.cfm, "the
Illinois General Assembly is primed to vote on legislation that
would freeze property tax extensions for all taxing bodies.
Though the impetus for the property tax freeze came from
Governor Bruce Rauner, the amendments are being sponsored by
House Democrats and would be attached to bills sponsored by
House Speaker Michael Madigan. House Bills 677, 695, 696 and 699
were heard in the House Revenue Committee and are scheduled to
be heard again. Recent review (5/13) /of the House
Calendar indicates they will be heard 5/15/15.
HB 677 (amendment sponsored by Bradley, D-Marion) and HB 695
(amendment sponsored by Franks, D-Woodstock) would place all
taxing districts under the scope of the Property Tax Extension
Limitation Law (PTELL) and permanently freeze property tax
extensions beginning in the 2015 levy year. This would include
home rule units of local government.
HB 696 (amendment sponsored by Franks) and HB 699 (amendment
sponsored by Bradley) would apply PTELL to all non-home rule
units of government and permanently freeze property tax
extensions beginning in the 2015 levy year.
Here are some points regarding the proposals:
• Fiscal Year 2015 State funding for public schools was below
2006 funding levels, including a mid-year cut of over $50
• Fiscal Year 2016 public school funding will again likely be
cut and/or prorated
• Even with school districts being able to access modest
property tax extension increases due to natural growth in EAV,
school districts still have had to cut staff, programs, and
extracurricular activities over the last few years because of
cuts in State funding
• Limiting local property tax revenue to zero growth, combined
with cuts in State funding, will likely lead to increased
teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, and loss of education
• Results of a property tax freeze will lead to poorer student
performance, a larger student achievement gap, and a strong push
of our school districts in most need to the brink of financial
• Add specific budget implications for your school district,
including impact on staffing and personnel."
The agenda for the
ISBE Board Meeting on Thursday, May 14 indicates that the State
Superintendent will recommend a "capped per pupil cut"
for adjusting 2016 GSA. Right now we do not know what the
appropriation will be, but it may also have a negative effect on
Currently 78% of District #91’s revenue comes from property
taxes. A little over 12% of our revenue comes from the state,
which is struggling to stay afloat and we are being told that
state aid, categorical funds and grants will be even further
prorated next year. That only leaves 10% of our funding (federal
and other), and we do not know for sure what will happen at the
federal level yet.
In addition, there is still conversation about shifting the
state’s pension burden to local school districts. It is
projected that this possible shift could cost District #91
$250,000 next year. This would quickly eat at the reserves the
District has worked so hard to build.
Should these bills pass and recommendations of the State
Superintendent take effect, District #91 will be forced to
evaluate current programming. We have worked hard to live within
our means. With these possible changes to public school
revenues, and ongoing increases in operating costs, District #91
will need to consider current programs and possible ways to cut
expenditures in the near future.
I ask that you consider the possible
impact this will have on our schools.
Legislators who serve Lockport Milne-Kelvin Grove School
State Senator - Pat McGuire - 43rd District
District Office: 815-207-4445
Springfield Office: (217) 782-8800
State Representative - Emily McAsey - 85th District
District Office: 815-372-0085
Springfield Office: 217-782-4179
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