Mapping IL's Inequitable School Funding

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The inequities of IL's property tax system are well known but this snapshot from Medill Reports makes it all the more vivid.  Wealthier communities (green) generate revenues with lower tax rates while poorer ones (red) generally have to tax at higher rates but still don't get to the same revenue levels.   Places like Harvey tax at the highest rates, while places like Lake Forest tax at the lowest. 

There's also a helpful explanation of the different funding streams and categories (foundation, alternative, and flat grant).  Flat grant districts do better in terms of student achievement, according to the story.  Big surprise. 

shows disparities in local property tax across Illinois

If only Race To the Top required states to equalize funding across
districts, perhaps then we'd finally have some action.


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  • While it's true that the wealthier districts have lower property tax rates, they probably pay a good deal more in $$ to their school district. Also, the low property tax rates and school quality are factored into real estate prices so property rates in those high value areas are going to be a lot more expensive.

    I don't think we'll see any kind of equalization. A decent foundation amount is probably all that's possible, and I don't even see that doing real well. People don't mind spending their $ on their local school district because it goes to benefit people in their own district and keeps their property values high. People don't like sending money to other people's school districts because they perceive little benefit from it.

  • This doesn't take into account the vast majority of federal (and a good degree of state grants) go SOLELY to low-income schools; less than 40% low income, not eligible for any money. That is the point of some equalizing. Even in the city where property taxes from rich & poor areas are equally divided across the schools, federal subsidies still go ONLY to the high poverty schools.
    So the real issue, what are they doing with their money that they are getting no results?

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