Springfield– A state school funding reform commission held its fourth meeting this week as part of the ongoing effort to identify a better way to fund Illinois schools. Also, the Senate Republican Caucus recently welcomed a new member, and the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) announced State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) has been awarded its prestigious Guardian of Small Business award.
School funding reform commission discusses hold harmless provision
The Illinois School Funding Reform Commission met this week as part of the ongoing effort to find ways to revamp the way the state funds schools. The Commission examined two central issues during this meeting.
First, the Commission explored the concept of “hold harmless,” what hold harmless means and the history of the different hold harmless provisions that can be found in the current school funding formula. They also considered the factors that contribute to losses in GSA, and therefore drive the need for a hold harmless, as well as other factors to consider when implementing a new formula as it relates to the need for hold harmless provisions.
The Commission members learned that one main purpose of any hold harmless provision is to provide school districts with a level of predictability and stability during times of transition to a new or changing funding formula. Senate Republican members of the Commission noted that it will be imperative that school districts are given time to make adjustments in response to changes to the school aid formula. They pointed out that, with a formula change, schools may have to make changes at the local level, which can impact staffing and school programs.
It was also noted during the meeting that hold harmless provisions, while good for phasing-in a new formula, are also a diversion of the amount of available funding from the intended goals of a revised state funding system for education funding. As such, it was emphasized the hold harmless provisions should be reviewed to ensure that equitability of school funding doesn’t become compromised during this process.
The Commission members also went over what is meant by a “distribution model.” They confronted the issue of how to most effectively distribute the limited resources available in Illinois in order to achieve adequacy and equity for Illinois schools. The commission was given a brief explanation of how the state’s current school funding system distributes money as well as how alternative proposals, including the Evidence Based Model (HB 828), distribute funding. Additionally, a brief explanation was provided as to how the FY17 budget (SB 2047) distributes funds to schools.
At the upcoming October 5 meeting the Commission members are expected to explore property taxes in Illinois and their effect on the state’s funding formula.
In July, Governor Bruce Rauner created the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission to make recommendations to the General Assembly to revise the current school funding formula by February of 2017.
The Commission is comprised of 25 members designated by the Governor and the legislative leaders. The Senate Republican caucus is represented on the Commission by Senators Jason Barickman, R-53rd District, Bloomington, Karen McConnaughay, R-33rd District, St. Charles, Sue Rezin, R-38th District, Morris, and Dan McConchie, R-26th District, Lake Zurich.
Senator Barickman named Guardian of Small Business
Citing his history of supporting pro-jobs, pro-growth policies and legislation, the National Federation of Independent Business has named State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) as a “Guardian of Small Business.”
“Small businesses are the engines that power the Illinois economy, helping them grow and succeed is the key to growing jobs and our entire state,” said Sen. Barickman. “It’s an honor to again be recognized for my efforts to make that happen.”
NFIB is Illinois’ largest small-business association with over 11,000 dues-paying members representing a cross section of the state’s economy. The “Guardian of Small Business” is awarded to lawmakers based on their voting record. According to the association, Senator Barickman voted to help small businesses 100% of the time.
“Senator Barickman has proven that he is a true ally to small business as a legislator,” said Kim Clarke Maisch, Illinois Director for the NFIB. “Senator Barickman shares the belief that we can grow jobs and our economy by helping small businesses expand and thrive in the Land of Lincoln.”
Governor announces bicentennial commission
Governor Bruce Rauner this week signed an Executive Order to create the new Illinois Bicentennial Commission, as well as the Governor’s Office of the Illinois Bicentennial to lead the planning for the celebration of the state’s 200th anniversary.
“The Illinois Bicentennial is an incredible opportunity to celebrate Illinois’ contributions to the country and the world and plan for our next 200 years of innovation and achievements,” said Governor Rauner. “I look forward to the commission’s recommendations on how best to move forward to ensure that this will be a celebration to remember.”
The order creates the Governor’s Office of the Illinois Bicentennial. The Bicentennial Office, with administrative support from the Governor’s Office and other state agencies, will develop the strategic vision for the bicentennial celebration and work with the public and private sectors to implement that vision.
The order also establishes a commission with members appointed by the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, the Senate Minority Leader, the House Minority Leader, the Attorney General, the Lieutenant Governor, the Treasurer, the Comptroller, the Secretary of State, and the Mayors of Chicago and Springfield.
Senator Barickman speaks during a meeting of the Governor’s Education Advisory Commission on September 21st in Chicago.
The ISU Annuitants Association invited Senator Barickman to speak at their board meeting on September 19th.
Senator Barickman spoke to a group of Cub Scouts working on their “Building a Better World” program.
Senator Barickman was a featured guest at the Pontiac Chamber’s Issues and Eggs breakfast in Pontiac on September 22nd.