Call to Action: Ask Your Local Representative to Vote "No" on HB 7
The time has come to once again make our voices heard on HB 7, the misguided proposal aimed at consolidating high school and elementary districts into unit districts by forcing local referendums.
We encourage each of you to contact your local Representatives and encourage them to vote “no” on HB 7. The legislation is likely to be called for a vote on the House floor this week, so it’s important to act quickly.
Here is a fact sheet with talking points crafted by numerous education stakeholders you can use in your conversation. The sponsor of HB 7 is Rep. Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan).
School Board Resolution Template
Another way school districts can make their voices heard on HB 7 is having your local school board adopt a resolution in opposition of the bill. This approach was ushered in by Community Consolidated School District #146, a preK-8 district in Tinley Park.
Thank you to Dr. Jeff Stawick for encouraging his board to adopt this resolution and sharing a template resolution with his peers.
Needs to Remain Local Decision
As we have stated previously, Illinois ASBO is not opposed to districts consolidating, but we believe strongly it has to be a community-initiated plan that is supported by incentives offered by the state. Otherwise, any proposal will likely lead to a significant increase in costs at the local level.
The primary driver of that is the merging of salary schedules but increased transportation costs and additional facility needs can also arise.
HB7 does not address barriers to restructuring schools in Illinois, including merging of salary schedules, disparities in tax rates, outstanding debt and varying capital needs for individual school districts, and existing employment and service contracts into which individual districts have previously entered.
The proposal seeks to create a commission that will make recommendations to the Governor and the General Assembly on the number of school districts in the state, the optimal amount of enrollment for a school district and where reorganization and realignment of school districts would be beneficial.
The goal of the commission is to make recommendations that would reduce the statewide total number of school districts by no less than 25% through the reorganization of high school and elementary districts into unit districts. A majority of members of the commission would have to approve the recommendations for it to proceed and be put to local voters on the ballot for a referendum.
Make Our Voices Heard
Please make our voices heard and reach out to your local Representatives and encourage them to vote “no” on HB 7. Legislators need to understand how much this bill would hurt our students and communities, if passed.
Director of Governmental Relations
Illinois Association of School Administrators
Illinois Association of School Business Officials
Reprinted with permission from IASA