Democratic State Senator Andy Manar.
As I have been writing, Democratic State Senator Andy Manar wants to change the state school funding formula with no new revenue. He wants to pay for it by cutting special education categorical grants to school districts and make them block grants. Categorical grants mean the money must be spent on special education students. Block grants move the money into the district’s general fund. the money can be spent on anything.
Why doesn’t the Illinois Education Association oppose SB231?
Their membership wants them to. At least that is what the delegates to the IEA’s Representative Assembly wants them to do when they adopted the IEA’s Legislative Program.
State Funding Plan
All of Illinois’ students deserve the same access to learning opportunities, level of commitment, and economic support. School funding should be based on a per-pupil amount equal to that of the wealthiest districts in the state. Additionally, district-by district variations in state funding should be based on district wealth, tax effort, student population, accurate Title I weighting, and other factors that might otherwise restrict equal access to free and appropriate education.
All categorical grant funding and education reform mandates should be funded at 100% of established levels. To achieve these goals, money should not be taken from one district in order to subsidize other districts or from one program to subsidize another program.
When state revenues are declining, the Association supports the following priorities for funding state education programs:
General State Aid, including an increase in the poverty grant formula.
Average Daily Attendance (ADA) Block Grant.
Mandated categorical programs such as special education and transportation
Early Childhood Block grants.
The IEA is officially neutral on the bill, even though it contradicts the IEA’s own legislative agenda.
I have heard that the Government Relations department, the lobbying arm of the IEA, recommended that the organization oppose SB 231 but were overruled.
Who can overrule IEA Government Relations?
Only the executive leadership: President Cinda Klickna, Kathi Griffin and Al Llorens.
That’s how democracy works in the IEA.