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Styf: Trying to educate you on education funding, SB1

Joliet Herald News

Friday, August 11, 2017  |  Column  |  

Education Funding (36a) , Rauner, Bruce

Education funding and the entire Senate Bill 1 topic are complicated, for sure.

There are real numbers, there are projections and there is rhetoric.

You hear things such as “Chicago bailout,” funding equity and accusations about leveraging our kids for political gain. It’s hard to sort through it all.

That’s why, last week, we had Gov. Bruce Rauner into our office to talk about the Republican side of things Wednesday and Democratic leaders in to discuss it Friday.

We streamed those discussions in an attempt to fairly give a platform to each side to make its points.

We made each meeting a cover story. And we ran an editorial on the topic in Sunday’s editions as well.

Senators will again discuss and hopefully will call a vote on the topic in a session Sunday, which is scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.

I’m not optimistic Sunday will bring any more clarity, because neither side seems ready to compromise.

All that seems clear to me is that we’re at this point now, instead of a month ago, because Democratic leaders didn’t send SB 1 to Rauner in a timely fashion.

And the numbers that Rauner was talking about, getting $4 million more for Joliet schools this year than his opponents’ plan, for instance, look overly optimistic.

We were led to believe the state board of education would produce numbers on the amendatory veto this week, but that didn’t happen.

It seemed that would be extremely hard to do accurately without each district filing TIF data.

Next week, in an effort to bring more perspective to this topic, we have invited in several area superintendents to discuss that issue and more school-related topics.

So, at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Joliet District 86’s Theresa Rouse, Troy 30-C’s Todd Koehl, Minooka 111’s Kenneth Lee and Morris 101’s Pat Halloran will join us for a live Facebook discussion that should last about 30 minutes.

It’s all part of our attempts to educate you on extremely complex education funding issues.

Until we get better numbers for both sides, not just now but also three to five years down the line, it’s going to be difficult to give clear analysis on what will be better for our local districts.