Belleville District 118 would lose money under Rauner’s school funding plan

Under Rauner’s changes, Belleville District 118 would lose school money

In the midst of Illinois’ public education funding reform, Gov. Bruce Rauner released numbers showing how districts would benefit financially under his plan. Due to a change Rauner wants, Belleville District 118 would stand to lose over $60,000 in
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In the midst of Illinois’ public education funding reform, Gov. Bruce Rauner released numbers showing how districts would benefit financially under his plan. Due to a change Rauner wants, Belleville District 118 would stand to lose over $60,000 in

Leaders in Belleville District 118 are concerned that they would see a slightly smaller increase in state funding this year if lawmakers side with the governor on school funding reform.

Gov. Bruce Rauner, a Republican, and the Democratic-controlled General Assembly so far can’t agree on how best to distribute the new money that was allocated for schools in the budget.

The Illinois Senate and House approved a new formula for funding school districts through Senate Bill 1 in May. Rauner used an amendatory veto this month to send the bill back to the Legislature with specific recommendations for change.

Under the original legislation, no school district would receive less state money than it did last year. But Rauner argues that the neediest districts could get a larger increase in funding with his amendatory veto.

Numbers published by the governor’s office this week show that Belleville District 118’s 11 elementary schools would actually get about $63,000 less if lawmakers accept Rauner’s amendatory veto. All other metro-east districts would see an increase in funding in the first year with Rauner’s changes.

The Senate showed it supports Senate Bill 1 as written by overriding the governor’s amendatory veto on Sunday. The House convenes on Wednesday, when Democrats are expected to consider a new bill that incorporates the governor’s changes.

If the House doesn’t approve the new compromise bill, it will have until Aug. 29 to override Rauner’s amendatory veto.

Assistant Superintendent Ryan Boike said the reason District 118 would see a decrease in funding is because property that sits in a tax increment financing district would be included in school districts’ general state aid claims under Rauner’s changes.

Rauner wrote in his amendatory veto message that he included that change because school districts had been under-reporting their property wealth.

How much money schools receive in general state aid depends primarily on local property wealth, and school districts can’t collect property taxes in TIF districts.

“It makes districts look like they’re better funded locally than they really are by including the EAV (property value)” that’s currently in a TIF district, Boike said.

Tax increment financing is an economic development tool used by municipalities. Belleville has several TIF districts that were created by the City Council.

Superintendent Matt Klosterman said District 118 has an agreement with the city through which it gets a percentage of the money it loses in a TIF.

“Those were all negotiated before we came into the central office,” Klosterman said of Boike and himself. “But there were negotiations that took place between the district and the city of Belleville, where if a TIF is in place that we would receive a portion of those dollars back.”

The District 118 officials say they hope to see lawmakers support Senate Bill 1 by overriding Rauner’s amendatory veto because of the immediate decrease in funding, but also because they say long-term funding is uncertain with the governor’s changes.

Even the local school district that stands to gain the most from Rauner’s changes is hoping to see lawmakers override the amendatory veto.

Alton District 11 would get about $1.9 million more under the amendatory veto, according to the governor’s office. But Superintendent Mark Cappel says “there’s a certain number of consequences that come along with this.”

Brent Clark, who helped create Senate Bill 1, agrees. He is the executive director of the Illinois Association of School Administrators.

In a visit to Belleville last week, Clark warned educators that the governor’s changes might result in more money for school districts in the first year but not over time.

“School districts are on such a starvation diet that it would be easy to say, ‘Let’s take that one there because it looks like more money’ without going into the bedrock and the nitty-gritty and the details of knowing why things are built the way they’re built,” Clark said previously.

Cappel said he hopes to see the state representatives override the amendatory veto because Senate Bill 1 makes school funding “more stable.”

“SB1, in my opinion, is by far the best funding formula that we have seen in a long, long time,” he said.

The Republican governor and supporters of the bill disagree on a number of its provisions, including picking up the employer portion of Chicago Public Schools’ teacher pensions, like the state does for all other districts.

Proponents say the Chicago pension provision was added to the bill in the interest of fairness, but Rauner says pension issues should be considered separately.

The two sides also disagree over the establishment of a minimum funding guarantee. Funding Illinois’ Future, a coalition of educators and others who support Senate Bill 1, says that provision is a protection for the neediest districts. The governor referred to it as “unsustainable” in his amendatory veto message.

Illinois already missed one state aid payment for schools this month because lawmakers are still negotiating school funding reform.

Without state money, Alton District 11 could only operate until about September. Belleville District 118 leaders estimate that they could operate through the first few weeks of October.

Madison County Treasurer Chris Slusser announced in a news release that his office would be expediting property tax distributions to schools in September to help with the lack of money coming from the state.

Slusser stated that there would be two distributions next month: Sept. 12 and Sept. 26. Alton District 11 plans to use those payments to meet its payroll obligations and to keep its doors open, Cappel stated in the release.

Over the weekend, Rauner suggested in a tweet that he is open to compromise.

“If lawmakers refuse to support the numbers and my changes, then let’s come together to find another solution,” he wrote.

In a submitted statement, Collinsville Unit 10 Superintendent Robert Green encouraged politicians to reach that compromise.

“Unfortunately, state funding for schools has become a political circus in the state of Illinois,” Green stated. “We need a stable funding source to allow us to make plans before the school year is underway. Our students and staff are back in classrooms today (Tuesday) — but the future of our funding is still up in the air tomorrow.”

Rauner’s changes would mean about $1.6 million more for Collinsville Unit 10, according to the numbers he published this week. “It’s hard to comment on any proposed amounts,” Green stated. “We really don’t know what’s in store until we have a definite amount.”

Lexi Cortes: 618-239-2528, @lexicortes

The Associated Press contributed to this report

By the numbers

The following are numbers from Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office showing how much total state funding metro-east schools would get in the first year under Senate Bill 1 vs. the governor’s amendatory veto:


Amendatory veto

Senate Bill 1


Albers 63




Alton 11




Belle Valley 119




Belleville 118




Belleville 201




Bethalto 8




Bond County 2




Breese 12




Brooklyn 188




Cahokia 187




Carlyle 1




Central 104




Centralia 200




Centralia 135




Chester 139




Chester-East Lincoln 61




Collinsville 10




Columbia 4




Damiansville 62




Dupo 196




East Alton 13




East Alton-Wood River 14




East St. Louis 189




Edwardsville 7




Freeburg 70




Freeburg 77




Germantown 60




Granite City 9




Grant 110




Harmoney Emge 175




High Mount 116




Highland 5




Lebanon 9




Litchfield 12




Madison 12




Marissa 40




Mascoutah 19




Millstadt 160




Nashville 49




Nashville 99




New Athens 60




O’Fallon 90




O’Fallon 203




Pontiac-William Holliday 105




Prairie Du Rocher 134




Red Bud 132




Roxana 1




Shiloh 85




Signal Hill 181




Smithton 130




Sparta 140




St. Libory 30




St. Rose 14-15




Staunton 6




Steeleville 138




Triad 2




Valmeyer 3




Venice 3




Washington 52




Waterloo 5




Wesclin 3




Whiteside 115




Wolf Branch 113




Wood River-Hartford Elementary 15