SCOPE SCHOOL FUNDING PRINCIPLES
SCOPE members believe that school districts operate in a fiscally responsible and efficient manner. Adequate, consistent and dependable funding should be available in order to provide the best education.
SCOPE recognizes the inequity and inadequacy of current funding for public education in Illinois. In recognition of current practice set by the Illinois Legislature to derive the majority of public school funding from local property taxes, we believe that same legislative body should not introduce and pass legislation to erode those revenues.
In order to prepare our children to meet the challenges of the future, SCOPE supports the following principles:
The State of Illinois should be required to fund at least 51% of the cost to provide an adequate public education. Funding at this level will occur only through increased state appropriations and an increase in the Foundation Level. Increasing the appropriations and the Foundation Level will reduce the inequities created by the current system/state aid formula and have the effect of “leveling up” many school districts. Changes in the foundation level should not impact any school district in a negative way.
II. GENERAL STATE AID
The general state aid formula should guarantee adequate and consistent funding. The foundation level should reflect:
A. Geographic cost differences
B. Grade level organization differences
C. Socio-Economic factors
Only the accessible equalized valuation should be used in the formula. All school districts in the State of Illinois should be required to maintain a minimum property tax effort. The general state aid formula should allow for variations above the guaranteed amount through local referenda. School districts should consider consolidation when brought about through financial need and academic benefit. The general state aid formula should use the count of children from low-income households receiving assistance through a Medicaid program (such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF and Kid Care) or Food Stamps as determined by the Department of Human Services (DHS) as the measure of poverty used in the calculation of the General State Aid (GSA) poverty grant. The count should be updated annually.
III. CATEGORICAL AND MANDATED PROGRAMS
The state should fund current categorical programs at 100% of formula, without pro-ration. Funding for categorical and mandated programs should be adjusted annually for Consumer Price Index (CPI) increase. Funding for categorical and mandated programs should be calculated at actual program cost. Only the accessible equalized assessed valuation should be used in the formula for reimbursement of transportation costs. School districts should not be required to implement mandates without full funding.
The state should be required to meet financial obligations to school districts by the end of each fiscal year.
IV. PROPERTY TAX AND STATE TAX
There should be annual reassessment of property as well as improved assessment practices for all counties. All school districts should be allowed to levy at their legally approved rate. School districts should not lose access to their legally approved tax rate as a result of tax caps. School districts who have fallen below the minimum tax rate required for state aid as a result of the tax cap, should not be penalized by losing state aid. Additional homestead and senior citizen exemptions should not be granted unless school districts are allowed to receive exemptions from the tax cap. Property tax relief should be replaced with a guaranteed state revenue source. Revenues lost to PTAB, Tax Increment Financing, Enterprise Zones, 6B and other tax incentives should be replaced. Current year EAV for levy purposes should be implemented in all counties. Student safety dictates that Health Life Safety work should be removed from the tax cap. Property should be assessed at an accurate and reliable manner statewide.
V. SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES
Required Special Education Services should be funded by the State Legislature at 100%.
1998 – Original Language
Revised language approved in 2003