Interest in education funding reform spreads to McHenry County - Metropolitan Planning Council

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Interest in education funding reform spreads to McHenry County

More than 200 people jammed the Algonquin Village Hall to urge legislators to take action to reform the state's school funding system.

Ill. Rep. Rosemary Kurtz (R-Lake in the Hills) and Sen. Pamela Althoff (R-Crystal Lake) hosted a room packed with residents there to hear ways to address the school funding crisis in Illinois.  Residents from throughout the area have been hit hard by school district cuts that have resulted from the "double whammy" of property tax caps and anemic state funding. 

District 300 Superintendent Arndt talked about recent cuts in their district, including laying off 300 people for next year, raising class size from the upper 20s to the mid 30s of students per classroom.  This will result in 12 percent fewer teachers, 13 percent fewer teacher assistants and 15 percent fewer administrators.  In addition, all administrator salaries will be frozen.  Neighboring District 158 in Huntley is in deficit, along with 80 percent of the state's districts, and is suffering from dependence on the local property tax to fund its growing student population.  

Network 21 member Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability laid out the state's dire fiscal crisis heading into next year.  While the Gov. Rod Blagojevich's proposed budget is balanced, many of the fixes are one-time only and will require structural reform next year.

Speakers at the meeting urged residents to take action, including joining the Network 21:  Quality Schools for Stronger Communities coalition.  Other suggested actions included:

  • Register to vote and VOTE!
  • Check status of legislation, visit www.schoolnewsservice.com for updates
  • Host Saturday morning legislative forums
  • Continue working with Village officials regarding impact fees
  • Write, call, e-mail or fax legislators
  • Support local district efforts to form political action committees
  • Applaud local legislators with letters to the editor, etc., when they vote against the wishes of their respective party leaders, but in support of the best interest of the community.

 

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