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Governor's Budget Address 2018

Statement on Governor's Budget Address
February 14, 2018

The Illinois Association of School Boards provided the following statement on the governor's Budget Address and a proposal to shift pension costs to local school districts.

The Governor's proposal to shift $490 million in pension costs onto local school districts is a significant step in the wrong direction and makes any pledge to increase school funding in the State a hollow promise.

The proposal erases funding increases meant to provide school districts with resources to provide students with much-needed educational services. The new Evidence-Based Funding Model seeks to provide additional funding for our schools to achieve equity in funding but this plan takes a step backward from that goal.

If the numbers stand up, the Governor proposes to appropriate $556 million for K-12 education, and then demand $490 million of it back. This would leave a net gain for school districts statewide, in the aggregate, of $66 million. But under the new formula, Tier 3 and Tier 4 school districts will likely receive little, if any, new funding. Even some Tier 1 and Tier 2 districts could be charged with pension costs higher than any funding increase they receive. With the new pension burden, hundreds of school districts will be receiving a cut in education funding under the Governor's budget plan.

As to the pension costs, the shift represents the failure of the State to live up to a bargain that was made decades ago when retirement benefits were enacted. Every retirement benefit was approved by the State legislature and signed into law by various Governors over the years. In fact, over the last two decades, the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) opposed every new pension enhancement in the Teachers' Retirement System because of the added unfunded pension liability. Many times IASB was the only group to oppose such legislation. Now, these retirement benefits - approved and provided for by the State of Illinois - would be shifted to local taxpayers.

Contact: Ben Schwarm
217/528-9688, ext. 1137

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