Friday, June 16, 2017

IASB president, Alliance executives
push for end to budget impasse

The executive directors of the Illinois Statewide School Management Alliance have sent letters to the four legislative leaders in the Senate and House and to Gov. Bruce Rauner, seeking an end to the budget impasse that is nearing its third year.

Citing the uncertainty and anxiety the funding crisis is causing among school boards, administrators, communities, parents, and even students, the Alliance is urging the General Assembly and the governor to reach a compromise that will put in place a PK-12 education budget for next fiscal year.

“Our collective desire is for an FY 2018 solution that results in the state’s ability to increase funding to all school districts, equitably distributes funds to the neediest districts, fully funds any mandated categoricals, and ensures timely payments,” the letter states.

The Alliance has also developed a budget toolkit and timeline to assist local school districts with managing the funding crisis,should no spending bill be approved in the near future. The June-August timeline calls for districts to conduct a district financial analysis, reach out to local residents and stakeholders urging them to contact state legislators, and host community discussions about the impact and possible scenarios that include: not opening on time, closing prematurely, or eliminating important educational programs in order to operate.

The four associations – IASB, IASA, IPA, and Illinois ASBO – call for a FY18 solution that results in increased funding to all districts, equitable distribution to the neediest district, full funding for mandated categoricals, and timely payments.

In addition to the Alliance letter,  IASB President Phil Pritzker reached out to the Democrat and Republican legislative leaders on behalf of IASB’s 6,000 school board members. Pritzker said the lack of a state budget puts districts in the difficult position of planning to open schools without knowing what amount, or even when, state revenue will arrive.

As Pritzker noted, “We are asking you to realize the impact that another year without a timely budget agreement will have on individual school districts. This time around, the question may not be ‘Will schools open in the fall?’ The question is, ‘CAN school open in the fall?’”

Legislators will return to the state Capitol next week, with the hope of passing a state budget that will be signed into law before July 1, the beginning of FY 2018. IASB and the Alliance will continue to push for an end to the impasse and for an education budget that provides secure funding for Illinois schools and adequately meets the needs of all Illinois children.

Further budget updates and materials will be posted on the School Board News Blog, IASB website, and provided via our Twitter account and Facebook page.