Illinois’ school funding bill was sold as providing equity. But it gives favors to the rich and private schools and breaks the public bank.


I never believed it. Even with the details provided, the Illinois school funding bill smelled to high heaven.

It’s basic premise was flawed. The politicians who backed it were saying they could pull a rabbit out of a hat. They could provide an equitable funding formula without raising any new revenue. Somehow poor districts would get more without penalizing rich districts and without raising new money.

Can they make monkeys fly?

And then there is this:

Included in the bill was a tax give-away to wealthy private school donors. Make a donation to a private or parochial school and 75 cents on the dollar would be deducted from your state tax bill. Not a percentage of your tax bill. A dollar for dollar exchange.

Guess who would make up for those missing dollars? Those who can barely afford to pay their state taxes now. That’s who.

No such deduction would be provided for a donation to your neighborhood or any public school.

Now Crain’s is reporting that hidden deep in the language of the bill is this little tidbit:

Early estimates show the new program, while limited to what will likely be a small set of youngsters from lower-income families, could cost the state two to five times more per student than what it now spends on general aid for the state’s 1.85 million public school pupils.

The math works out like this: $2,725 is now spent directly by the state on average for public school students. But projections for participation in the scholarship program indicate its cost to the state could average between $6,250 and $12,500 per private and parochial student.

At best, that is a three to one payment that favors private school students and it doesn’t even matter if the student could afford private school tuition before the bill was passed.

That’s free money, baby!

I don’t even wonder if those who vote for these bills actually know what is in it.

If they do? Shame on them.

If they don’t. Shame on them.


One Reply to “Illinois’ school funding bill was sold as providing equity. But it gives favors to the rich and private schools and breaks the public bank.”

  1. October 3, 2017

    SOS (save our schools)

    The move to privatize government “activities” at the national, state, and local levels has been an agenda for quite some time. This movement has appeal to many citizens (in fact, I say, a large majority).

    The anti-tax and anti-government movement, while always in place, is a “powerful driver” at all levels of government.

    Now in my 54th year as a public school teacher, I remain a strong supporter of tax-supported functions. Taxes provide good roads, police, social services, parks, libraries, schools, employment, and many other public services.

    The passage of the State of Illinois school funding bill did not surprise me (most notably the private/parochial provisions). While there was little opportunity to know of and react to the private/parochial provision, I am confident that it would have survived public scrutiny.

    Support for public schools and opposition to tax-supported Charter and private schools is the best investment that can be made. My commitment to supporting public schools remains strong and I urge others to make a like commitment.

    Yours in education,

    Dr. Charles W. Birch, public school teacher – Morris, Illinois

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