Illinois State Senator Andy Manar.
Legislators in Springfield are trying to take away part of the State money that pays for special education to give it to general funding for schools AND they have proposed to ELIMINATE the State laws that require dedicated and specific funding for special ed teachers and programs.
Instead they want a Special Education Block Grant as part of changing the way Illinois funds local schools.
(1) Please contact your State Representative and your State Senator at their home office near to you. [which you can get from www.ilga.gov ]
(2) Please ask your State Senator and State Representative to OPPOSE any attempt to take away part of special education funding in any proposed changes to the school funding formulas.
Please OPPOSE the attempted elimination of State laws that require dedicated and specific funding for special education teachers and programs.
What is the best way to contact your legislators?
(1) Ask to meet with your State Representative and with your State Senator.
(2) Ask whoever answers their telephone to request that the State Rep or State Senator call you.
(3) Offer to provide any other information on this, and to answer any questions or find our the answer to any questions that the State Rep or State Senator may have.
You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
(1) What is wrong with a Special Education Block Grant?
Exactly the same thing that is wrong with the CURRENT Chicago Special Education Block Grant. Chicago can have 5,000 special education teachers OR 1,000 special education teachers and STILL GET EXACTLY THE SAME AMOUNT of State money.
In Chicago, State money is NOT directly tied to special education services.
(2) Do all the school funding formulas have to be changed to fund poorer school districts?
You cannot blame the school funding formulas if you have failed to provide the money to properly fund the formulas
State Senate President John Cullerton, and State Senator Andy Manar say the way that Illinois funds local schools (the State school funding formulas) MUST BE CHANGED before any funding is provided for the next school year.
So far every proposal from Senator Manar to change the formulas TAKES MONEY AWAY FROM SPECIAL EDUCATION to increase General State Aid, AND eliminates the State laws that require funding be directly and specifically dedicated to special education (such as $9,000 for each special education teacher and other professional personnel who work full-time with students with IEPs).
When the Illinois State Senate President (Cullerton) and his former Chief of Staff (State Senator Andy Manar (Democrat from Bunker Hill) have vowed NOT to fund K-12 education, that ANY new funding using the current school funding formulas is A WASTE OF MONEY, we face a direct win or lose situation.
Cullerton/Manar are directly misleading other legislators and the public.
They both state (repeatedly) that MORE money can result in less funding for some school districts using the current formulas.
Comparing apples to apples, that is utterly false.
All four of the factors in General State Aid are reducing it for some school districts:
(1) Declining attendance: if you have fewer students, you should get less General State Aid.
(2) Increasing local taxes: if property values are going up and/or your local property tax rate increases, you get less General State Aid.
(3) the Corporate Personal Property Replacement tax has resulted lately in less General State Aid.
(4) the changes in the measurement of poverty as determined by the Illinois Department of Human Services has resulted in less General State Aid.
If you increase funding for General State Aid using the CURRENT FORMULAS, who does NOT receive more money?
The 59 school districts, the 59 wealthiest school districts in Illinois, who receive the FLAT GRANT of $218 per student. The FLAT GRANT is just that – flat – it does NOT increase if General State Aid increases.
If you increase funding for General State Aid using the CURRENT FORMULAS, who DOES receive more money (everything else being equal)?
The 77 school districts, the 77 poorest school districts in Illinois, who NOW receive over $4,000 per student.
This is not complicated: the $218 per student does NOT increase when Illinois puts more money into General State Aid, while the over $4,000 per student DOES INCREASE.
If fact if Illinois funded PK-12 education at about 50 percent of total cost, the CURRENT FORMULAS would work wonderfully to direct money to the poorest school districts.
But Illinois has been starving our schools for funding for over 30 years – slowly at first but then dramatically lately.
You cannot blame the school funding formulas because you have failed to provide the money to properly fund the formulas.
For example, Illinois now pretends that Full Funding for General State Aid is $6,119 per student, when the actual figure should be near $9,000 per student.
If we do not fight to keep the State special education money that we now have, no one else will do it for us.
You can not provide quality programs for students with disabilities without the needed, dedicated funding.