The state of Illinois just changed its school funding formula to what is called an "evidence-based model." Macomb School Superintendent Patrick Twomey said the new model is helping but it's not nearly enough.
“The state constitution clearly says that the state is supposed to pay for the majority of education, which in my mind means 51%. And they’re nowhere near that number,” said Twomey.
“In Macomb, we are definitely receiving more money under this new formula. So that’s a good thing. But is it enough? The answer is absolutely no, it’s not enough. Until the state steps up and does what I think is their share of education, the brunt continues to fall on property tax owners here in the state of Illinois.”
Twomey said legislators continue talking about education funding, and he believes they are seriously seeking alternatives to property taxes to pay for education.
“We have the right people talking the talk,” he said. “Whether something gets done, that’s on the legislators. I think we need to keep the pressure on them.”
The Macomb School Budget
The district expects total revenues of $26,305,508 this fiscal year, with money coming from three places:
- Local sources (such as property taxes): $18,234,002 (69%)
- The state: $6,714,335 (26%)
- The federal government: $1,357,171 (5%)
The district projects spending of $27,381,383, meaning expenses will outpace revenues by a bit more than $1 million. But Twomey believes the budget is balanced because the district is intentionally overspending in some parts of its budget. He said the idea is to bring down a few surpluses.
“I’ll use IMRF (Illinois Municipal Retirement Fund) for example. We have $733,000 already in there. No need to put that in the levy and have taxpayers pay more money. We can just pay that down out of that fund balance,” he said.
The Board of Education unanimously approved the district’s 2018-19 budget during its meeting this week.