Knoxville superintendent says pass school funding, then fix problems
The Illinois Legislature should immediately pass the original version of its K-12 funding bill but then get back to work on addressing underlying issues, the superintendent of Knoxville Community Unit School District 202 suggests.
"I firmly support the original version of SB1,” Steve Wilder said in a statement. “I believe it to be the best option for students across the state, not just Knoxville… . I don't believe the rest of the state should suffer at the expense of any other school district. But, I also don't believe that students in Chicago should be educated with less than any other student in Illinois.”
Wilder said his support of the original version of Senate Bill 1 over Gov. Bruce Rauner’s amended version is based in part on measures included in Rauner's veto that could lead to less funding for school districts in the future.
Specifically, Wilder pointed to the original hold-harmless provision and the exclusion of tax increment financing districts and tax caps from the calculations used to determine how much money a district can raise on its own. He called for Chicago Public Schools (CPS) to eventually be treated equally with all other state schools.
“At issue is that CPS has been treated differently than the rest of the State for some time,” Wilder said in his statement. “I believe the long-term goal should be to treat CPS just as the rest of the schools in Illinois are treated. I believe the Governor's veto attempts to do that, but I don't believe that was the best way to go about it. I believe the best result would be an override of the Governor's veto, followed by bipartisan efforts to level the playing field with CPS and address the long-term pension liability for the State in a more productive manner."