05312017CM0287SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) today voted to support community schools.

“Today we passed monumental school funding reform that will allow all our children a chance to be successful regardless of their zip code,” Castro said. “This funding reform will finally give school districts like U-46 essential funding to support our students without taking resources away from students in School District 54, District 211 or any other district in the state.”

Castro praised Senate Bill 1 as a monumental school funding reform bill that is widely supported by school superintendents, educators, advocates and community organizations across the state.

“This was not only the most beneficial reform brought forth this legislative session, it is also the most necessary,” she said.

The state’s school funding formula has not been updated in more than 20 years and is considered one of the worst in the nation. The final step needed to enact SB1 into law was a signature from Gov. Bruce Rauner, yet he refused to advance the historic reform, instead vetoing it and requesting the changes.

Castro’s vote helped the Senate override Gov. Rauner’s that demanded more than 100 changes to the historic measure just weeks before school was scheduled to start. A final vote is needed in the House for a full override.

One of the most impactful changes demanded by the governor was the removal of a hold harmless provision for school districts after three years. Unlike the plan Castro supported, the governor’s proposal could result in school districts such as Districts 54 and 211 losing money at the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

Rauner’s veto came despite his approval of “90 percent of Senate Bill 1,” according to his education secretary earlier this year. But instead of enacting this historic reform, he chose to use education funding as leverage in an attempt to further his regressive legislative agenda. Several of the demanded changes weren’t even related to education, including an amendment that would punish schools for their local governments’ economic development efforts.

“We shouldn’t have to choose between providing our children with a good education and growing our economy,” Castro said. “I don’t know why Governor Rauner is trying to force municipalities to make that choice.”

Castro said Gov. Rauner once again showed he was willing to pit Illinois’ communities against one another to further an economic agenda that has largely failed for lack of support in the general assembly.   

“Governor Rauner is using his veto powers to distract the people of Illinois from the real issue at hand: fixing an outdated and unfair school funding system,” Castro said. “We should be searching for the best outcomes for the children of Illinois, yet the governor refuses to meet us at the bargaining table.”

Senate Bill 1 passed the Senate with bipartisan support and now moves to the House for consideration.

Category: News

03282017CM0341ELGIN – Governor Bruce Rauner’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1 could have lasting and staggering effects on the economic development of cities such as Elgin, Streamwood and Hoffman Estates.

Under Rauner’s plan, economic development funds collected in Tax Increment Financing districts (TIFs) would count against the state funding received by school districts even though schools do not have access to that TIF revenue. In turn, a school district that contains TIF districts would receive less state funding because Rauner’s version of the formula falsely categorizes this economic development revenue as money a school district has to spend.

“Businessman Bruce Rauner is advocating for a plan that will not only reduce funding for our schools, but also punish nearly every community in Illinois for utilizing proven economic incentives,” State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) said. “We shouldn’t have to choose between providing our children with a good education and growing our economy. I don’t know why Governor Rauner is trying to force municipalities to make that choice. ”

Rauner’s amendatory veto penalizes hundreds of Illinois communities who desperately need adequate education funding and aggressive economic development tools. Elgin currently has three TIF districts, while East Dundee has seven.  

Superintendent Tony Sanders represents school district U-46, which has $30 million in property tax revenue that is inaccessible because it lies within a TIF district. Under Governor Rauner’s plan, the $30 million in property wealth would be used against the school district, resulting in a lesser investment in U-46 schools from the state than they would have received prior to Rauner’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1.

“Our schools, children, educators and parents need stability and predictability,” Castro said, warning that schools may be unable to open on their scheduled start date of August 16. “Senate Bill 1, in its original form, is a plan that will help all of our schools.  There are no losers. We owe it to our children to give them all a chance to succeed, regardless of their zip code.”

Castro approved of Senate Bill 1 after talking to superintendents throughout the district who were in strong support of the proposal. The policy outlined in the legislation gives all of Illinois’ children an opportunity to succeed and brings Illinois one step closer to funding schools at a proven adequate level. For a full listing of TIF districts throughout Illinois, click here: https://illinoiscomptroller.gov/comptroller/assets/File/MunicipalitiesWithTIFDistricts_August2016.pdf

Category: News

STREAMWOOD – Consumer frauState Senator Cristina Castro ATTs Shred Day Aug 2017d and identity theft are becoming a growing epidemic in our communities. To raise awareness and to promote prevention, State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin), School District U-46 and Streamwood High School are offering free paper shredding services for area residents.

To help reduce the chances of identity theft, experts recommend shredding things like bank statements, credit card offers and credit card convenience checks. Residents should also shred canceled credit cards, canceled checks, pay stubs, old photo IDs and tax returns that are more than three years old.

To accommodate all participants the limit is two boxes of residential shredding per a person. Boxes and bags will be returned.

No business shredding will be accepted.

Date: Saturday, August 12
Time: 9 a.m. to noon
Location: Streamwood High School (701 Schaumburg Rd., Streamwood, IL)

For more information, call Castro’s office at (847) 214-8864 or visit www.SenatorCristinaCastro.com.

Category: News

05192017CM0079ELGIN- State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) is outraged at Governor Bruce Rauner’s latest attempt to undermine school funding reform.

Governor Rauner issued an amendatory veto to Senate Bill 1, a school funding reform overhaul that is widely supported by school superintendents, educators, advocates and professional and community organizations statewide.

“Once again Governor Rauner pitted Illinois’ children against each other,” Castro said. “Our state will only succeed if we work together in a bipartisan manner. I urge the governor to work with us; not against us to give all children the chance to thrive.”

Rauner’s veto punishes school districts by withdrawing a hold harmless provision for school districts after three years. The governor’s proposal could result in school districts such as School District 54 and School District 211 losing money at the start of the 2020-2021 school year.

Castro is appalled the governor would support one school district at the expense of another.

“Senate Bill 1 represents a school funding system that is fair and gives all of our children, regardless of their zip code, a chance to succeed,” Castro said. “I would never support a plan that would hurt one of our community’s school district to help another; especially when there is a proposal that will allow all of Illinois’ children to succeed.”

Under Senate Bill 1, school districts such as U-46 would have seen a significant increase of funding to level the playing field with neighboring school districts but not at the expense of other schools. No school district in Illinois will lose funding under the proposed formula outlined in Senate Bill 1 indefinitely.

U-46 Superintendent Tony Sanders joined superintendents, school administrators and educators across Illinois to support Senate Bill 1.

“School districts like U-46 are making decisions every moment during these August days to prepare for the start of the school year in a couple of weeks, and there's way too much uncertainty for this time of year,” Sanders said. “Remember, Illinois has long ranked as the worst in the nation for its inequitable school funding formula and SB1 is the closest we've ever come to fixing that formula to more fairly serve and support all students. This could be our state leaders' finest moment but they will have to dig deep to find their common ground. More than two million students are counting on them to do so.”

The increase in funding to schools passed by the Senate and House would work toward giving schools in need of additional resources, funding based on an evidence-based model that accounts for factors such as students with disabilities and low-income students.

The Senate and House will need three-fifths of a majority to override or accept the governor’s veto.

Category: News

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