Governor touts education transformation during tour of Illinois schools

In a tour of Illinois schools today, Gov. Bruce Rauner spoke to students about their future while highlighting how historic education funding reform in Illinois ensures equitable funding for public schools, better school choice for families and property tax relief for taxpayers.

Gov. Rauner made stops at Springfield Ball Charter School, Ida J. Russell Elementary School in Litchfield, and Mater Dei Catholic High School in Breese.

“Nothing is more important than you and your education,” Gov. Rauner told students. “With education, you can do anything. You should have every opportunity in the world to reach your dreams.”

“This is a win-win day,” Ida J. Russell Elementary Principal Andrea Lee said. “Not only is it positive for our students and staff to see the governor in the building and listen to what he has to say, but I believe it is also beneficial for the governor to see what is taking place in the classrooms and in schools.” 

Under Illinois’ new education funding formula, the state will distribute funding to each district based on the needs of the children in the district. The majority of education funds will go to those districts that have the largest gap between their adequacy targets and available local resources.

“This school funding reform bill brings historic change that will help generations of Illinois children,” Gov. Rauner said. “We have taken a significant first step in transforming education in Illinois. I commend lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for working together to make sure every child across the state will have access to the best education.”

A critical pillar of this new education funding bill is the options it offers parents when it comes to selecting the very best education for their children. This is accomplished by ensuring district-authorized charter schools receive funding equal to that of district-managed schools and by creating a tax credit scholarship program to provide families with limited financial resources better access to private schools. The scholarship program encourages individuals and businesses to empower families to choose schools that best meet the needs of their children.

For taxpayers, homeowners who live in school districts that exceed their adequacy targets will be able to seek property tax relief through a referendum.

“Illinois homeowners face some of the highest property taxes in the nation, and this referendum mechanism can finally provide some relief for overtaxed homeowners,” Gov. Rauner said.

“I would like to thank the governor for his efforts in serving our state and representing all the residents throughout Illinois,” Mater Dei Catholic High School Principal Dennis Litteken said. “It is good to have Gov. Rauner in southern Illinois, and Mater Dei is honored to be his host.”

“Springfield Ball Charter School wants to thank the governor and legislators for taking the time out of their busy schedules to come visit our school,” Ball Charter School Principal Matthew Fraas said.