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District 50 Seeks Support to Change State Charter School Funding

School board officials look to address the Illinois Association of School Boards for support in changing how state charter schools are currently funded.

The school board continues its mission to change legislation on how state-sanctioned charter schools are paid for. The board recently met with officials from Rich Township 227 and Fremont District 79 to reaffirm their commitment to the resolution, and to prepare statements that will be presented before the Illinois Association of School Boards next week, in hopes of receiving the group's backing.

District 50 passed the resolution in April and has since asked neighboring districts for support. According to the Daily Herald, Grayslake District 46 voted 4-2 in favor of the resolution to limit the amount of state funds that would be witheld from local school districts for the purpose of paying for state charter schools.

 was founded in 1999 despite strong objections from Woodland and Freemont districts, from which PCCS is within the boundries of.

"We knew we couldn't afford it yet the state went ahead with it," said District 50 school board President Larry Gregorash. "Now we're forced to give up so much of our funding. It's not fair, really."

Of the roughly $3.4 million in general state aide allotted for Woodland in the 2011-12 school year just under $3 million went to Prairie Crossing.

"We have more than 6,500 kids in our school district and we have to pay that much money for the 324 that are going to Prairie Crossing," said Robert Leonard, Associate Superintendent for District 50. "We have overhead expenses that we'll have no matter how many students we have in each class. It comes down to the state taking a disappropriate amount of money away from us."

"It sounds really good that the money should follow the student, but that's just not the way it works," said Gregorash. "We're not objecting to Prairie Crossing at all, we're objecting to the way they are funded, and that's through us, even though we can't afford it."

Gregorash said the school board has met with officials from Prairie Crossing and both sides agree that something needs to change.

Next week members of the school board and from Rich Township 227, where the only other state-sanctioned charter school is located, will bring their argument before the Illinois Association of School Boards in an attempt to gain support. If successful the IASB will bring the issue before the annual Tri-Conference of school board members, business managers and superintendents mid-November.

"We want to look at changing the law on this," said Leonard. "It may take a while, but it will be worth it if we can get there."

Bill Morris July 26, 2012 at 05:37 PM
wait until the state dumps the teacher pension costs on Woodland and other school districts. Then Woodland, between the Charter school payments and the teachers' pension contribution the state will dump on them will actually be in a negative state aid position. I don't know why the local school district's are sitting quietly as this mandate is about to be dropped on them. bill
Sandra Sims July 27, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Not only sitting quietly, but actually engaging in pension spiking for their employees. Brilliant.

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