Governor Calls On U5 School Board Candidates to Reach Out To The State For More Money

“Yes for Unit 5” has been campaigning for a tax referendum that appears on your ballot this Spring and Governor JB Pritzker just unveiled a $49.6 billion spending plan that includes a major boost to education funding in the state — including a $250 million investment in early education and a $506 million increase in K-12 funding. Pritzker came to Heartland Community College to tout his spending.

“Does anyone know how much Unit 5 will receive if Governor JB Pritzker’s budget passes? Is it enough to eliminate all of Unit 5’s property tax hike ask or what portion?” asked council man Stan Nord on a Facebook post.

This writer went to the press conference and asked Pritzker if Unit 5, the 15th largest district in Illinois, could address their $12 million budget deficit with funding from the state. This is a budget deficit that led the district to cut $1-2 million from programs like sports and extracurriculars.

“Our budget does significantly fund schools all across the state. As you may know, a significant portion of the funding comes from the state and an even larger portion comes from local property taxes,” said Pritzker.

Pritzker touted that under his power as Governor the administration has increased the amount of money coming to the state because 1) they want education to improve and 2) to alleviate the burden of local property taxes.

“When I came into office we were the worst or second worst in the nation for state funding leaving the bulk of the bill to local property taxpayers. In the average state in the United States, 46% gets paid by the state, 46% from the local property taxes, and the rest is from the federal government. In Illinois, when I first came in 24% gets paid by the state and 60% got paid by the local property taxpayers,” said Pritzker. “It’s not at 46% yet, but we’ve made a lot of progress.”

Pritzker said the percentage currently is: 36%

But where’s all the state funding coming from?

Darren Bailey said the the money they use to fund schools at a state level is essentially all leftover COVID federal grants and property taxes. So that money is from Illinois property tax payers. ”

“The Governor has the ability to move funds around as he sees fit, especially with federal funds,” said Bailey.

Pritzker said there are opportunities for the state to increase funding for local schools, like McLean County Unit 5, beyond just Evidence Based Funding and the formula the state uses to determine what schools get what funds.

“Teacher pipeline dollars this year…$70 million to districts that have vacancies of teachers, so they can use new tools and strategies for attracting more teachers into the profession,” said Pritzker. “I encourage local school board candidates to talk to their representatives about grant dollars and other things that might help alleviate the burden.”

According to Illinois Report card, the district is at 77% adequacy. They have a “Chronic Absenteeism” of 25% and this “Chronic Absenteeism ” is a measure used to rate the district according to Evidence Based Funding. If the district falls into a 73% adequacy rating… then the will become a Tier 1 school. Tier 1 schools get the most state funding.

“Yes for Unit 5” is a political action committee that has been allegedly stuffing teachers’ mailboxes with literature about school board candidates and the tax referendum. The district is under investigation by the Normal Police, who have not sent out a press release concerning the matter. “The case is currently being investigated by our Investigations Division. Since it is an open case we are not able to provide anything further at this time,” said Brad Park of the Normal Police Department.

The referendum will permanently raise your property taxes. The ballot reads: Shall the maximum annual tax rate for educational purposes for Normal Community Unit 5, McLean and Woodford Counties, be increased and established at 3.6 percent upon all taxable property as equalized or assessed by the Department of Revenue instead of 2.72 percent. the present maximum rate applicable to the next taxes to be extended for said purposed?





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via d1989

March 14, 2023 at 02:47PM

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