School district transparency can lead to greater efficiency - Metropolitan Planning Council

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School district transparency can lead to greater efficiency

A new act highlights the true cost of a student’s education

The Metropolitan Planning Council is devoting new time and resources to promoting Effective Government. Local governments in Illinois face severe fiscal pressures, and MPC stands ready to help them—but we often find that outdated laws and practices of the State of Illinois hinder the ability of local governments to creatively solve their problems. A new law demonstrates a step in the right direction. 

Illinois has the second highest property tax rate in the nation. This is why the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC) and Transform Illinois support legislation such as Public Act 100-0807, which will spotlight efficiencies and inefficiencies in the administration of Illinois’ school districts. This new law mandates that districts report administrative costs on a per-pupil basis on their annual Report Cards.

According to the Illinois Department of Revenue, the largest share of local property tax, 62 percent, goes to school districts. This new act will allow residents to better assess if their local school district is operating responsibly, empowering them to hold school boards accountable.

State Senator Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) sponsored the enabling legislation, which passed both chambers with unanimous support. Governor Bruce Rauner signed the bill into law on August 10.

Previous Illinois Report Card had abundant information about students and schools, such as testing scores and absentee rates—but not much about administrative costs. While the average salary for administrators over the previous five years and the administrator to student ratio were reported, total costs per student were obscured.

Public Act 100-0807 dictates that report cards include the most current data relating to a school district’s administrative costs. It defines administrative costs as those associated with executive, administrative or managerial functions within the school district that involve planning, organizing, managing, or directing the school district.

Angela Reilly is a former Research Assistant at Metropolitan Planning Council and a J.D. Candidate at Loyola University Chicago School of Law 

Learn More about MPC's support of Legislation that Leads to Better Government:

"Better government is closer than ever in Illinois. Here's Why." by Sawyer Mideleer

"Simpler Stormwater Management through Cooperation" by Maggie Catania

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