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Funding Issues on the Horizon

Educational funding has been a hot topic for some time and recently Mr. Nick Brown, Hawthorn superintendent, was invited to  Springfield to share the impact of the proposed legislation, Senate Bill 1. Along with SB 1, the state is looking at other financial changes that would impact Hawthorn School District 73. The state is discussing the potential of cost shifting pension from the state to the local districts as well as a property tax freeze. Add all three of these ideas together and Hawthorn stands to loose millions of dollars in the budget.

District 73 stands to lose $3.13 million —a loss of about $700 per student a year if a school funding reform act, Illinois Senate Bill 1 or a similar bill, is voted into law. This is the equivalent of 57 teachers, 114 instructional assistants or 5.7 times what the district spends annually on curricular resources. This does not mean the district would eliminate these positions, this is just a comparative analogy. The district currently spends approximately $300,000 per year on activities, clubs and after-school sports.

If the bill becomes law, District 73 would lose 77 percent of its state funding, greatly impacting its ability to continue with its high quality education to its students.

Another proposal on the table is to shift the teachers’ pension onto school districts, which would cost Hawthorn $425,000 over five years. A property tax freeze is also being discussed, which would cost Hawthorn up to $1 million in revenue annually.