Wheeler Praises 64th District Community for Effort that Killed Senate Bill 16

CRYSTAL LAKE – Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) has praised the people of the 64th District for their tireless efforts that put a halt to Senate Bill 16. Senate Bill 16 would have made major changes to the state education funding formula, shifting millions of dollars in state funding away from McHenry and Lake County schools. Wheeler noted that without the combined engagement of so many community members, both from within the education system from outside it, putting a halt to SB 16 would not have been possible.

“Senate Bill 16 was a bad bill, based on arbitrary distribution methods that would have done major damage to our suburban schools,” said Wheeler. “Without the involvement of so many members our community, stopping this bill would have not been a reality. I want to thank the thousands of concerned parents and citizens that attended the public forum in McHenry or signed the petition online. The school districts also did a tremendous job in communicating with the parents on just how damaging this bill would have been for our children’s education. Without these combined efforts, our schools would be headed down a path to a shambolic redistribution of funding.”

Wheeler also noted that the six-thousand plus slips of opposition presented during last month’s joint hearing of the House Elementary & Secondary Education Committee and House Appropriations – Elementary & Secondary Education Committee played a pivotal role in quashing SB 16. During the hearing, hundreds of parents, school officials, and financial officers appeared in person to voice opposition to the bill. Those appearing noted not only the damage that would be done to the education system, but also the fact it would further exacerbate undue pressure already placed on the backs of over-stressed property taxpayers.

During the hearing, Wheeler also signed on as chief co-sponsor to House Resolution 1335, which would have created a House Education Funding Advisory Committee. The primary purpose of the advisory committee would have been to conduct a thorough review of the existing school funding formula and make recommendations for reforms that would create a funding system that would be adequate, equitable and which prepares students for achievement and success after high school. While the creation of the committee now stands in limbo due to the death of SB 16, should new legislation come about in the upcoming 99th General Assembly to re-write the state education funding formula there will undoubtedly be a call for the formation of such a committee to prevent a similar bill to SB 16 being jammed through the legislature.

“Ensuring our children have the best education possible is one of the most important things our community must do,” said Wheeler. “Rushing into a drastic overhaul of our state’s funding distribution would have done irreparable damage to our children’s future and thanks to the efforts of so many we were able to prevent this catastrophic legislation from taking effect.”

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