Thursday, June 30, 2016

Alliance Legislative Report 99-50


Lawmakers in the Capitol today approved a full Fiscal Year 2017 budget for elementary and secondary education, including a $361 million increase over FY 2016 levels. After failing to reach a K-12 budget agreement by the scheduled adjournment at the end of May, legislative leaders and the governor began meeting in earnest in June under increased pressure to ensure that schools open this fall. A tentative agreement was reached earlier this week and legislators were called back into session Wednesday and today. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate adjourned until November.

The budget appropriations, contained in SB 2047 (Trotter, D-Chicago), will provide funding for school districts that will fully cover the statutory foundation level of $6,119 per pupil and add another $250 million in equity grants directed at school districts with high concentration of poverty students. Mandated categorical grants will be funded at FY 2016 levels and early childhood education will see an increase of $75 million over FY 2016 levels.

Chicago Public Schools will receive an additional $215 million (contained in SB 2822) for payment towards the normal costs of their teachers’ pensions in FY 2017. And, beginning in FY 2018, the district will be provided authority to levy a separate property tax for the purpose of making employer contributions to the pension fund that is excluded from the property tax cap (SB 318).

Among the many provisions of the FY 2017 Stopgap Budget Implementation Act (SB 1810), one provides that school districts whose Corporate Personal Property Replacement Tax (CPPRT) receipts total 15 percent or more of their total revenues will receive an additional 7 percent of the total amount distributed to the school district from CPPRT funds during FY 2015. This is designed to backfill a school district’s loss from any CPPRT sweeps as a result of the budget.

As for the rest of state government, the General Assembly approved a stopgap six-month budget. Though it only gets through half of the fiscal year, this is the first budget that’s been in place since June 30 of last year. The appropriations bill does include $1 billion for higher education for costs for FY 2016 and for the first half of FY 2017.

The plan is for the working groups of legislators to continue meeting and have a full-year budget ready for a vote during the Veto Session scheduled for Nov. 15-17 and Nov. 29 – Dec. 1.

Click here to read the entire Alliance Legislative Report 99-50.