Morton 201 Superintendent Kuzniewski praises state school funding redistribution
A measure that would dramatically change the way the state distributes money to school districts in West Cook County passed both the State Senate and State House last week.
If Governor Bruce Rauner signs Senate Bill 1 into law, Morton High School District 201 in Cicero expects to be one of the winners.
"I am excited that the legislature is looking at a more equitable funding formula," Morton District 201 Superintendent Mike Kuzniewski told West Cook News. "Stable funding makes budgeting more consistent and under this bill we would probably see more dollars."
Indeed, the last Illinois State Board of Education analysis of the bill exclusively reported by West Cook News showed Morton would get an additional $7 million from state taxpayers.
In a Chicago City Wire analysis last month counted Morton 201 as among the top recipients of state and federal subsidies in the Chicago Area. The district received $8,454 per student-- 54 percent of its $15,655 per student budget-- from non-local sources last year, ranking 31 of 291 Chicago area school districts.
In contrast, Western Springs District 101 received $1,435 per student, or 11 percent of its budget. At $13,045 per student, it spends less than Morton, but far outperforms it.
On the 2016 standardized statewide PARCC exam, just six percent of Morton students met state standards versus 73 percent in Western Springs.
Kunziewski said he was encouraged that Senate Bill 1 is supported by the Illinois Association of School Boards and Illinois Associaton of School Business Officials. Both groups have been longtime advocates of increasing taxes to spend more on public schools.
He added the groups had assured him and others that no districts lose money in Senate Bill 1.
"Our associations are telling us that there are 'no red numbers,'" he said.
The ISBE analysis shows 12 districts in West Cook County will get more money from the state if Senate Bill 1 becomes law; 26, including Western Springs, will get less.