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.”