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I am extremely concerned about a committee hearing that has been scheduled in Springfield to gather testimony about SB16, a bill that would strip millions away from suburban Cook County schools and channel the money toward Chicago Public Schools and other downstate school districts. Today I am asking you to take an active role in helping me to stop this detrimental bill by taking a few minutes to formally file your opposition to SB16 with the committees that will hear testimony next week.

When legislators in the collar counties were holding SB16 information meetings over the last month, we were repeatedly promised by the Chief House Sponsor of SB16 that she would not be calling it for a vote anytime soon. The sponsor even went so far as to contact local superintendents who were attending our local forum on October 21 in Arlington Heights to share her promise. With a new General Assembly to be seated in less than two months, the timing of this hearing is very concerning. It suggests that the bill may be brought for a vote in the upcoming lame duck session.

Specifically, the school districts located within the boundaries of legislative House District 54 stand to lose the following amounts of General State Aid if SB16 is approved:

  • Community Consolidated School District 15: $11,125,664 loss per year
  • Township High School District 211: $7,955,584 loss per year
  • Barrington School District 220: $5,391,021 loss per year
  • Community Consolidated School District 59: $5,923,650 loss per year
  • Township High School District 214: $7,471,089 loss per year
  • Arlington Heights School District 25: $3,286,613 loss per year
The bill has been scheduled for a 3:00 PM subject matter hearing on Tuesday, November 18, before a joint meeting of the Appropriations- Elementary & Secondary Education Committee and the House Elementary & Secondary Education Committee. Filing opposition to the bill is a simple process that only takes a few minutes. If you are interested in having your voice heard on this bill, please use these directions:
  1. Go to www.ilga.gov
  2. Scroll down the page and click on GA Dashboard (in red ink along the left side of the page)
  3. Click on the Register icon and fill in your information (registration is recommended but not required)
  4. Click on House, Committee Hearings, and then on the “Month” tab
  5. Click on the piece of paper icon to the right of the listed hearing (November 18th, Appropriations- Elementary & Secondary Education)
  6. Click on Create witness slip
  7. Fill out the form
  8. In the area marked “Representation,” put “taxpayer” or “School District taxpayer” or some other identifying wording
  9. In the “subject matter” portion click “opponent”
  10. Under “Testimony” you can have your written comments supplied to all board members. This is optional. Emailed testimony is not accepted. You may fax your written statement to 217-557-2165 or you may mail it to Illinois State House, Room 426, 401 S. Second Street, Springfield, IL 62706. Make sure that your written testimony is clearly marked at the top of the page: SB16 Testimony, and your name.
  11. Fill in verification code
  12. Click the box to accept the terms
  13. Click Submit
A “Frequently Asked Questions” document is available for those who have additional questions about the process. That document is available at: http://my.ilga.gov/Home/FAQ .

We all need to work together to preserve the education funding that our suburban school districts receive, and I would appreciate your participation in this important Call to Action.
Northwest Suburban Cook County lawmakers joined area superintendents and education experts on October 21 for a Senate Bill 16 Impact Forum at the Metropolis Performing Arts Center in Arlington Heights. Close to 150 people attended the informational event.

The panel outlined how suburban Cook County school districts would lose millions in General State Aid if SB16 is approved and signed into law as currently written. State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) said the school districts located within the 54th Legislative House District would lose a combined $40.1 million per year through SB16.  “School funding reform is a critical issue, but SB16 is not the answer,” Morrison said. “It simply creates a new list of funding winners by taking GSA away from the districts whose taxpayers already shoulder a disproportionate share of the cost of educating kids in this state. Funding reductions at the levels included in SB16 would be a game-changer in how children in suburban Cook County are educated.”

Morrison was joined on stage by Senator Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) and State Representative David Harris (R-Mt. Prospect). Other speakers included State Superintendent of Education Chris Koch, Benjamin Boer from the Advance Illinois Education Advocacy group and Superintendents from several area school districts.

Attendees were encouraged to get involved in the effort to stop SB16 by calling the Governor, Speaker Madigan, SB16 Sponsor Senator Andy Manar and area legislators to let them know that the provisions of SB16 do not solve school funding issues and are unfair to suburban taxpayers. “Those of us who live in the suburbs need to be unified in our support of our local schools,” Morrison said. “We need to send a loud message downstate that stripping GSA away from our districts is unacceptable.”
Metra Chief Calls for 68% Fare Hike over 10-Year Period
On October 9, Metra Chairman Martin Oberman presented a proposal to the Metra Board for a 68% fare hike to be phased in over the next ten years. Funds from the fare hike, according to Oberman, would cover a variety of fiscal challenges, including the replacement of much of the system’s rolling
stock. The plan calls for:
  • Purchasing 52 new locomotives
  • Rebuilding 85 locomotives 
  • Purchasing 367 new passenger cars 
  • Rehabilitating 455 passenger cars 
The proposed fare hike would create financial backing to borrow $400 million in debt, which would be an essential element of an overall $2.4 billion financing plan. More than half of the required funds, $1.3 billion, would come from the State of Illinois. I worry that further tax and fee hikes could be required to cover the State side of this program. The Board approved the fare hike package by a vote of 10-1.

I am aware of Metra’s equipment needs, but am deeply concerned with the level of the proposed fare hike. I believe most riders who rely on Metra for their daily travel to and from work would find the kind of increases Metra is proposing to be excessive and unaffordable. When I see Illinois spending hundreds of millions on higher speed rail that makes minimal improvements to travel times between Chicago and St. Louis, I must wonder if that money could be better-spent on Metra’s improvement needs so that the riders’ impact could be minimized.

Crain’s Chicago Business has more information on the fare hike request.

Legislators to Host Senate Bill 16 Impact Forum
Tonight I will partner with Senator Matt Murphy and Representative David Harris for a public forum on Senate Bill 16, a proposal that rewrites Illinois’ school funding formula and strips General State Aid (GSA) away from most suburban school districts.

The forum will take place from 6:30-8:30 PM at Metropolis Performing Arts Center, 111 W. Campbell Street in Arlington Heights. Local school superintendents and school administrators will join us to talk about how SB16 will specifically affect their district budgets and operations.

SB16 passed in the Illinois Senate in May and is now pending in the House of Representatives. As written, this bill diverts millions in General State Aid away from local schools and channels it toward Chicago and many downstate schools. It’s an unfair redistribution of funds with every one of my school districts losing large amounts of funding. The school districts located within the boundaries of the 54th legislative House district would lose the following amounts of GSA if SB16 is passed (estimates provided by Illinois State Board of Education):
  • Community Consolidated School District 15: $11,125,664 loss per year
  • Township High School District 211: $7,955,584 loss per year
  • Barrington School District 220: $5,391,021 loss per year
  • Community Consolidated School District 59: $5,923,650 loss per year
  • Township High School District 214: $7,471,089 loss per year
  • Arlington Heights School District 25: $3,286,613 loss per year
Those who attend the forum will be given the opportunity to submit questions or concerns to panel participants.

In response to the revival of SB16, I have joined several of my House colleagues in sponsoring a House Resolution in opposition to the bill. You may read the text of HR1276 here, and you may access the on-line petition here.

For additional information about the October 21 event, please contact my Palatine office at (847) 202-6584.

State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) will join Senator Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) and State Representative David Harris (R-Mt. Prospect) on October 21 for a public forum on Senate Bill 16, a proposal that rewrites Illinois’ school funding formula and strips General State Aid (GSA) away from most suburban school districts.

The forum will take place from 6:30-8:30 PM at Metropolis Performing Arts Center, 111 W. Campbell Street in Arlington Heights. Local school superintendents and school administrators will join the legislators and talk about how SB16 will specifically affect their district budgets and operations. 

“SB16 passed in the Illinois Senate in May and is now pending in the House of Representatives,” said Morrison. “As written, this bill diverts millions in General State Aid away from local schools and channels it toward Chicago and many downstate schools. It’s an unfair redistribution of funds with every one of my school districts losing large amounts of funding.”

According to Morrison, the school districts located within the boundaries of the 54th legislative House district would lose the following amounts of GSA if SB16 is passed (estimates provided by Illinois State Board of Education):

·         Community Consolidated School District 15: $11,125,664 loss per year
·         Township High School District 211: $7,955,584 loss per year
·         Barrington School District 220: $5,391,021 loss per year
·         Community Consolidated School District 59: $5,923,650 loss per year
·         Township High School District 214: $7,471,089 loss per year
·         Arlington Heights School District 25: $3,286,613 loss per year

“School funding reform is a critical issue, but SB16 is not the answer,” Morrison said. “It simply creates a new list of funding winners by taking funding away from the districts whose taxpayers already shoulder a disproportionate share of the cost of educating kids in this state.”

Those who attend the forum will be given the opportunity to submit questions or concerns to panel participants.

In response to the revival of SB16, Morrison and several of his colleagues in the IL House have sponsored a House Resolution stating their opposition to the bill, and they have posted a petition against SB16 on their web sites. You may read the text of HR1276 here, and you may access the on-line petition here.

For additional information about the October 21 event, please contact Representative Morrison’s Palatine office at (847) 202-6584.


State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) has posted an on-line petition in opposition of Senate Bill 16, a bill that would strip millions away from hundreds of Illinois school districts and channel the money toward Chicago and other schools.

The petition is available on Morrison’s legislative web site at www.repmorrison54.com, or through a direct link at http://www.ilhousegop.org/sb16_petition.

SB16 is a massive rewrite of the school funding formula that determines how General State Aid (GSA) is distributed to Illinois’ school districts. It does not add any additional funding toward education.  As written and approved in the Senate, the bill uses a weighted formula that is punitive to most suburban school districts.

“My school districts will lose most of their GSA if SB16 is approved in the House of Representatives and signed into law by the Governor,” said Morrison. “The bill does not solve funding inequities in Illinois. It only redistributes existing state resources in a way that creates a new list of education funding winners and losers.”


Morrison is a co-sponsor of House Resolution 1276, a measure that denounces SB16 and encourages a comprehensive and fair funding reform process that is inclusive of all stakeholder points of view. “I support equitable and reasonable reforms to school funding, but SB16 is not the answer,” said Morrison. “House Resolution 1276 encourages lawmakers to halt all efforts to pass that bill and to engage in a process with all stakeholder groups represented at the table, so that ultimate reforms benefit all students and not just some of them.”
State Representative Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) has been chosen as a recipient of the “Guardian of Small Business” award from the National Federation of Independent Businesses/Illinois (NFIB).

The award, given out every other year by the non-partisan NFIB, recognizes lawmakers from the House and Senate with a solid voting record that supports small businesses. According to NFIB/Illinois State Director Kim Clarke Maisch, the organization evaluated legislators’ voting records on nine key bills that affect small business (HB3223, HB2649, HB923, SB 1, SB3287, SB2758, HB3005, SB2776 and HB924), and lawmakers earning an 80% or higher rating receive the award.

“Representative Tom Morrison is a strong advocate for the small businesses in the 54th District,” said Maisch. “He has time and again voted to support Main Street and help them fight costly regulations, egregious mandates and higher taxes.”

Morrison, who has served in the Illinois House of Representatives since 2011, said he was honored to be recognized for his commitment to the small businesses that represent the backbone of the Illinois economy. “Small business owners are the primary job creators in Illinois,” said Morrison. “As legislators, it is important that we support their efforts to grow and expand so that people can find sustainable jobs that reduce reliance on government programs.”
Please join State Senator Matt Murphy and State Representative Tom Morrison for a free recycling and shredding event on Saturday, September 6 in Palatine.

For the event, which will be held from 9:00 AM until noon at the Bank of Palatine parking lot, 1 E. Northwest Highway in Palatine, the Senator and Representative will partner with AT&T, Elgin Recycling, Habitat for Humanity, the Palatine American Legion, the Palatine Lions Club, Shelter Inc., and Working Bikes.

Residents are welcome to bring up to two bags of paper to be shredded and electronics and other items for recycling, including cell phones, eye glasses, hearing aides, keys, walkers, crutches, sewing machines, wheelchairs, bikes, flags, household items, gently used clothing and building materials.

For additional information about this event, please contact Senator Murphy's office at (847) 776-1490 or www.senatormattmurphy.com, or Representative Morrison's office at (847) 202-6584 or www.repmorrison54.com.