Illinois House Democrats threaten special education funding with HB 2808.


The Illinois House plans to end its current session this week.

There is still no state budget and there is unlikely to be one.

The Senate has voted for an income tax increase, but the increase in new funding is unlikely to get House approval before Wednesday.

Meanwhile the House version of SB1, the education funding bill which in the House is called HB2808, still threatens special education.

As I have reported, HB2808 is sponsored by Rep. William Davis, Robert W. Pritchard , Linda Chapa LaVia, Al Riley, Emanuel Chris Welch, Sue Scherer, Camille Y. Lilly and Will Guzzardi.

The bill adopts what they call an Evidence Based Model.

One sponsor of the bill told me that it contemplates lots of new school funding.

I was told that each year there would be an additional $350 million more than the previous year, so that by 10 years out, we’d be funding K-12 education at a level $3.5 billion higher than we are today, a nearly 50% increase.

“Lots of new school funding” is one hell of an  expectation given we live in Illinois.

Maybe there will  be lots of new school funding,

Maybe not.

The ten-year cost of HB 2808 is said to be $3.5 billion today, but the realistic cost is likely to be $6 billion to $8 billion over 10 years.

No current school funding bill can guarantee $8 billion over ten years, let alone $3.5 billion.

I was told that HB 2808 requires that special ed money can’t be spent on anything the local district decides.  It has to be spent specifically on special ed.

The claim that HB 2808 requires funding dollars be specifically special education is wiggly at best. What it does is eliminate Special Education Personnel Reimbursement which is direct and dedicated funding for special education teachers and others that work full-time directly with students with disabilities.

A special education teacher is essential – at the core – of any quality special education program.

The first steps in getting rid of special education teachers working directly with special education students began with Response to Intervention (RTI).

I was still in the classroom when our schools started implementing Response to Intervention (RTI) as a way of cutting special education costs.

RTI is not a substitute for direct and dedicated funding for special education teachers.

This is a bad bill and should be defeated.

3 Replies to “Illinois House Democrats threaten special education funding with HB 2808.”

  1. An example of the crisis: I teach a Low Incidence class of children with autism, cognitive disabilities, and more on the Southside. I have 13 students, another with medical issues coming soon, have had my paraprofessionals cut to a single adult. And with experience, I am not a cheaper newbie. It is madness. Northsiders complain that they are cut to two or three aides! With 7 students. Inequity abounds. Will Guzzardi, please rethink your support.

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