Courtesy of Chicago Tribune and Phil Kadner
Illinois has the most unfair school funding system in the nation, according to a study released this week by The Education Trust.
The state’s school districts with the greatest number of students living in poverty receive substantially fewer state and local dollars than their more affluent counterparts — nearly 20 percent less, according to the study.
In addition, it contends that school districts with the largest enrollments of minority students receive 16 percent less than those districts serving the fewest.
This comes on the heels of another study by WalletHub that contends that Illinois’ tax structure places a greater burden on the poor and middle class than any other in the nation. It says Illinois has the second-worst tax system in the nation for low-income workers, who on average pay 12.1 percent of their income in taxes (that includes property, sales and income taxes) and the worst tax system for middle-income wage earners, taking 11.3 percent of their income.
While the statistics may be new, none of this comes as a surprise to anyone who has looked at either of these issues over the past 20 years.
And to a great extent, both of those ratings can be traced to this state’s overreliance on the property tax to fund the schools.
The property tax system doesn’t tax wealth. It has nothing to do with a person’s ability to pay. In fact, as a person gets older and finds himself living on a fixed income, loses his job or finds new employment at a lower wage, property tax bills remain the same or continue to increase, often forcing people to sell their homes.
Using the property tax to primarily finance public education allows a school district with the greatest property wealth (whose students typically start out with more advantages), to spend more on teacher salaries and extracurricular programs, while forcing districts with a comparatively small property tax base to cut corners.
All of this is created by legislative policies set in Springfield, and none of it happened by accident.
For the full article, visit the Chicago Tribune.