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July 14, 1999

Ryan Signs Law To Eliminate 'Double Whammy' In School Formula

MIDLOTHIAN -- Governor George H. Ryan today signed legislation that fixes an on-going and expensive problem within the state aid formula that creates a "double whammy" for school districts in certain parts of the state that this year will cost districts more than $50 million.

"This legislation will ensure that every school district in Illinois receives its fair share of state funding," Ryan said. "Children are our most precious resource, and we should ensure that they have the resources needed to succeed."

Due to the complicated formula used to calculate each school district's general state aid, some districts throughout the state have experienced a "double whammy" that can cause the amount of state aid to these districts to decline.

With the establishment of property tax caps in many Illinois counties, school districts with rising property values are allowed to tax against a portion of the total equalized assessed valuation within the district -- "whammy" number one.

In addition, for purposes of state aid calculations, these districts are treated under the school aid formula as if they have the full power to tax all of the property value within the district, even though they cannot: This provision costs these districts state aid -- the second "whammy."

House Bill 1134 changes these calculations and factors the double whammy problem into the state aid formula. The bill eliminates the need for school districts to apply for separate grants while guaranteeing that the state's educational funding foundation level actually means something for each and every student in Illinois.

Under the Education Reform Act of 1997, the state guaranteed all schools a minimum of $4,225 in per-pupil spending in FY 99. That level will rise to $4,325 in FY 2000 and to $4,425 in FY 2001.

This year the double whammy will cause an $11 million funding shortfall for schools in the south suburbs and a $40 million shortfall for Chicago's public schools. Downstate school districts, which may receive less general state aid for the 1999-2000 school year than they did in 1998-1999 because of the re-calculation, will share a one-time grant of about $14 million under this legislation. This revenue shift will not count against a district in the determination of state aid for the current year.


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