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Lawmakers Seek Public Input On Plan To Revamp School Funding

CHICAGO (CBS) -- State lawmakers who have predicted huge property tax hikes for suburban homeowners under a measure to overhaul funding for public schools have invited the public to provide input on the plan Tuesday night in Arlington Heights.

The measure would revamp the funding formula for public schools in Illinois, to make sure more state funds flow to schools based on poverty levels, so more money would go to districts with smaller property tax bases. Local property taxes are the primary source of funding for public schools in Illinois.

WBBM Newsradio's Nancy Harty reports the bill was approved by the Illinois Senate, but is undergoing major changes before it's called in the House, possibly after next month's election.

State Sen. Matt Murphy (R-Palatine) said the proposal to recalculate education spending is a clear threat to schools in his suburban district. He said one district would lose $11 million in state funding under the plan

"If you replace the state funding by raising your property taxes, it would equate to about a 7 percent property tax increase," he said.


Murphy said one problem with the current school funding system is, by his estimation, Chicago gets $700 million more than it should.

"A poor kid in CPS would be worth about $3,000, but a poor kid in Carbondale would be worth about $355," Murphy claimed.

State Rep. David Harris (R-Arlington Heights) predicted the schools in his district would lose $1 million to $6 million in state funding.

"Any burden of lost revenues falls most heavily on the local residential property tax payers. That, to me, is unfair," he said.

Murphy and Harris were hosting a public forum at the Metropolis Performing Arts Center in Arlington Heigts from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. to discuss the education funding overhaul plan.

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