A controversial education funding bill that critics say is a $205 million bailout for the Chicago public school pension fund would shortchange metro-east school districts by $10 million.
Senate Bill 231 passed in the Senate on May 10 and moved to the House where it awaits action in the Executive Committee.
State Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) said he won’t support “legislation that will take money away from any school in my district.”
“The current proposal would also cause local property taxes to increase – which I oppose,” Kay said in a statement. “Even worse, the education bill before the House takes millions away from schools in my district and sends metro east money to schools in Chicago.”
Kay said that Senate Bill 231 removes an “Adequacy” grant, without which would result in these funding losses: Edwardsville CUSD #7 - $5 million; O’Fallon Township High School - $1.1 million; Roxana CUSD #1 - $1.6 million; O’Fallon CCSD #90 - $1.9 million; Central School District #104 - $520,000; Shiloh Village SD #85 - $219,000; Bethalto CCSD #8 - $116,000; and Grant CCSD #110 - $97,000.
In a press release issued Friday afternoon, Kay took a swipe at his opponent, Democrat Katie Stuart of Edwardsville, for initially voicing support for the proposal.
Both Kay and Stuart on Monday attended a prayer event held outside Kay’s office, which was organized by United Congregations of Metro East in support of SB 231.
Kay said at the time that he needed to review what was in the bill before taking a position. At the prayer event, Stuart said she supported SB231. Later she retracted the statement, saying it was a mistake, according to Capitol Fax blog.
“I’d say it’s a flip-flop, and a pretty serious one,” Kay was quoted by Capitol Fax. “It’s a huge flip-flop. This is a catastrophic mistake.”
Stuart has been contacted for comment.
Kay said the state’s education funding formula “is in desperate need of an overhaul which is why I support fully funding all schools in Illinois.”
He said the funding issue “is a very complex” one.
“However, it is disappointing that my opponent supports diverting money from metro east schools to bailout schools in Chicago,” he said.
“With that said, I appreciate the UCM praying for the legislature because we need an education funding bill that funds our schools fully and fairly.”
Kay said that SB 231 will need $600 million more in order to prevent metro-east schools from losing more than $10 million.