University of Chicago Medicine Breast Cancer June 2022
SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Senate Bill 16 controversy set to explode

Expect fireworks at Conrady’s town hall meeting

Taxpayer anger appears to be building a head of steam this week over proposed state legislation that may result in the loss of millions of dollars in state aid to local public schools, cutbacks that include layoffs, and significant local property tax increases—all in the name of fairness.
That anger may burst like a factory steam whistle next week at two town hall meetings designed to examine the projected effects of Senate Bill 16, the School Funding Reform Act of 2014.
The events are set for 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Conrady Junior High School, 7959 W. 97th St., Hickory Hills, and 6 to 7:30 p.m. next Thursday, Oct. 23, at Sandburg High School, 13300 S. La Grange Road, Orland Park.
Steve Walker, a resident of Hickory Hills, used a parallel from folklore to illustrate his take on the situation.
“I get angry when I read about the bill’s supporters calling where I live ‘a wealthy school district.’ I mean really, are they kidding?” he asked. “They seem to think they’re Robin Hood doing a good thing for the poor, but I’m here to tell you: I’m not the Sheriff of Nottingham. People in my town struggle to pay our bills, just like everyone else.”
Maria Hernandez said that she and her family “moved to Palos Hills seven years ago, in large part because of the good schools—but now we’re going to get cut like this? It makes no sense at all to me.”
“We’re getting fleeced in the name of fairness,” said Orland Park resident Dianne Brady, one of several local taxpayers who spoke Saturday outside the Jewel/Osco near 131st Street and La Grange Road. “Look, I’m all for poorer school districts receiving more state funds, but not at the expense of my children. Rather than change the way we slice the pie, why not work together to make the pie bigger?”
The featured speaker at the meetings will be Robert Grossi, Bloom Township treasurer and president of Crystal Financial Consultants, which provides financial advisory services to school districts throughout the state. A number of elected officials, school board members, school administrators, parents and other taxpayers are expected to attend.
The event is open to everyone living in School Districts 117, 118, 127, 135, 140, 146, and 230.

Background
SB 16, which passed the Illinois Senate in late May, is expected to be considered by the state House of Representatives as early as January, according to the bill’s opponents—although SB 16’s supporters have scoffed at that and pointed to the spring session of the General Assembly.
The bill’s principal sponsor is State Senator Andy Manar, a freshman Democrat from Central Illinois elected in 2012 with support from the Illinois Education Association. A teacher by training, Manar is the former chief of staff to Senate President John Cullerton.
Manar describes SB 16 on his website as “a proposal to streamline the current hodgepodge of funding sources into one funding formula that would account for school districts’ funding needs. Today, only 44 percent of the state education spending is balanced against a local district’s ability to pay.

Winner and losers
In its current form, passage of SB 16 would mean annual state aid losses of approximately $7 million for Consolidated High School District 230, which features Stagg, Sandburg and Andrew High Schools.
Other Southwest Suburban schools would suffer losses, as well, including approximately:
• $1.4 million each for Palos School District 118 and Worth School District 127
• $1.9 million for Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123
• $1.6 million for Alsip-Hazelgreen-Oak Lawn School District 126
• $839,000 for Oak Lawn Community High School District 229
• $839,000 for Evergreen Park Elementary School District 124
• $364,000 for Atwood Heights School District 125
• $330,000 for Chicago Ridge School District 127-S
• $312,000 for Evergreen Park Community High School District 231
High School District 218 would see an annual gain of about $934,000 in state aid under the proposed re-formulation, but Palos Heights School District 128 would lose about $574,000.

Schools weigh in
Several local school officials have weighed in with expressions of concern.
SB 16 is a “disastrous” proposal that “would negatively impact class size and educational programs at each of our three schools,” wrote Palos School District 118 Superintendent Anthony Scarsella in an open letter to the community. 
The proposal “provides no additional funding for K-12 public education,” he added. “It merely redistributes the current inadequate pool of state resources. Senate Bill 16 pits school district against school district, community against community, and parent against parent as we all chase the same few state dollars that exist for K-12 education.”
In a letter penned by Palos Heights School District 128 Superintendent Kathleen Casey and signed by her and the school board, SB 16 was rapped because it “does not take into account those districts that have been financially responsible and maintained balanced budgets. It penalizes half of the school districts in the state for being in counties that limit annual property tax increases.
“SB 16 is strongly opposed by special-needs advocacy groups that feel it will negatively impact special needs education,” she added. “It does not ensure funding will end up in the classroom of the recipient school districts to improve student achievement. SB 16 may be modified to also include a shift in pension costs to local property taxpayers. 
“The loss of these revenues would have dire consequences on our educational programming and staffing,” Casey continued. “This bill would require significant cuts or else force the district to seek additional local funding through a referendum or increase in fees.”

Dems vs. GOP
Political support for SB 16 has mostly fallen along partisan lines, with support from Chicago area and downstate Democrats and opposition from suburban Republicans.
Notable exceptions to that include 18th District State Senator Bill Cunningham, a Chicago Democrat whose district includes a number of suburbs. Earlier this year, he broke ranks to vote against the measure.
Also bolting the Democratic Party on SB 16 are 35th District State Representative Fran Hurley and 36th District State Representative Kelly Burke.
Burke said she finds the proposed legislation “troubling” and that the re-formulation is flawed in that it assumes that local school districts “are wealthy, when they are not, for the most part. They are middle class.”
She also said that SB 16 merely doles out more state aid to certain school districts without requiring accountability regarding how the funds will be spent.
In a standard response to constituents who asked, 14th District State Senator Emil Jones III—who voted for SB 16 last spring—noted that the bill “is by no means perfect and will not become law in its current form.”
He added that the kind of education a child receives should not be dictated by “the ZIP code where he/she lives.”
Beyond politics, Jones added that the proposed legislation has “started a debate we are having now on how to better educate all of our students and prepare them for the future.”

Local News

Mallory Pugh, who has six goals in seven games, will miss three games for the Red Stars in July because she will be playing with the United States in a World Cup qualifier. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pro Soccer Report: Red Stars will miss three big guns during World Cup qualifying

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Having world-class players on your team is a blessing. But during times like these, it can also be a curse. World-class players help NWSL teams win games. They also miss chunks of time during the season because of their commitments to playing in international competitions. For much of July, the…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Stagg grad Laila Barakat leaves her mark on program

By Randy Whalen Correspondent Laila Barakat entered her freshman year of high school basketball with a plan. She left as one of the most accomplished and successful players in Stagg girls basketball history. “Coming in my freshman year, I knew what goals I wanted to achieve,” said Barakat, who was a four-year varsity player for…

Harper Noren of the Illinois Lightning Track Club shows her form in the long jump on June 25 at Shepard. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup: Lightning strikes at Shepard

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer There was a lot of rain and a little bit of thunder at the Illinois Lightning Track and Field Club’s open track meet, which was held at Shepard on June 25. The meet was open to everyone, from children as young as 4 (one 3-year-old also participated) to adults. More…

CRRNH_TabaresLopez_062922

Mayoral race comes to Archer

Neighbors cheer as Lopez slams Lightfoot on crime By Tim Hadac Southwest Side civic and business leaders last Saturday got an early glimpse of the 2023 mayoral race, as 15th Ward Ald. Raymond Lopez made a campaign stop on Archer Avenue. Lopez was the guest of honor at a “meet and greet” held at the…

election 2022

Two incumbents square off in new 6th District

Newman, Casten battle for Dem nod By Steve Metsch It doesn’t happen often, but voters in the new 6th Congressional District have an unusual choice in the June 28 Democratic primary. Because of redistricting, two sitting members of Congress–Marie Newman and Sean Casten– are going toe-to-toe for the nomination in the June 28 primary. The…

pathlights Ice Cream Fundraising Flyer 6.17.22

Fundraiser is Sunday for Pathlights

Tinley Park nonprofit One Less to Help One More is hosting a special community fundraiser for Pathlights in honor of June’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Month from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, June 26, at Oberweis at 7202 W. 159th Street in Orland Park. For shoppers, 20% of your purchases will be donated…

USPS logo new

Mail truck loses load on Harlem Avenue

By Bob Bong A U.S. Postal Service truck leaving a local post office spilled its load at Harlem Avenue and 103rd Street Tuesday morning. Palos Hills Police Deputy Chief Tony Carroccio said the truck was driving with its rear door open at 3 a.m. when it dropped packages all over Harlem Avenue near 103rd Street.…

reporter worth welcome sign

Worth considering limits on tobacco stores

By Joe Boyle The Worth Village Board is considering establishing an ordinance that would put limits on where tobacco stores can operate in the village. Worth is not a home rule municipality and therefore cannot vote to put a limit on the amount of tobacco stores in the village. Greg Jones, the village attorney, is…

Election-Vote-Logo-1024x631

Incumbent Zalewski faces challenger for Dem nod in 21st District

By Steve Metsch Taking a break from the campaign trail – talking on a cell phone as he walked door to door – state Rep. Michael Zalewski (21st) said the choice facing Democratic voters on June 28 is simple. “I’ve said consistently that it’s the choice for voters between a record and a promise,” Zalewski…

Totally Blown had its tobacco license suspended for 30 days and its lawyers are seeking a lighter punishment. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park smoke and vape shop looking for a lesser punishment

By Jeff Vorva Truly Blown Smoke and Vape appealed to the Village of Orland Park Board of Trustees to lighten up a 30-day suspension for selling products to underage customers. The business was also fined and had its tobacco license suspended for 30 days during a June 1 hearing. The appeal was held on Monday,…

Neighbors

DVN JCs Restoration House Ad
Mallory Pugh, who has six goals in seven games, will miss three games for the Red Stars in July because she will be playing with the United States in a World Cup qualifier. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Pro Soccer Report: Red Stars will miss three big guns during World Cup qualifying

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer Having world-class players on your team is a blessing. But during times like these, it can also be a curse. World-class players help NWSL teams win games. They also miss chunks of time during the season because of their commitments to playing in international competitions. For much of July, the…

SRP-IMAGE-Logo

Stagg grad Laila Barakat leaves her mark on program

By Randy Whalen Correspondent Laila Barakat entered her freshman year of high school basketball with a plan. She left as one of the most accomplished and successful players in Stagg girls basketball history. “Coming in my freshman year, I knew what goals I wanted to achieve,” said Barakat, who was a four-year varsity player for…

Harper Noren of the Illinois Lightning Track Club shows her form in the long jump on June 25 at Shepard. Photo by Jeff Vorva

Area Sports Roundup: Lightning strikes at Shepard

By Jeff Vorva Staff Writer There was a lot of rain and a little bit of thunder at the Illinois Lightning Track and Field Club’s open track meet, which was held at Shepard on June 25. The meet was open to everyone, from children as young as 4 (one 3-year-old also participated) to adults. More…

CRRNH_TabaresLopez_062922

Mayoral race comes to Archer

Neighbors cheer as Lopez slams Lightfoot on crime By Tim Hadac Southwest Side civic and business leaders last Saturday got an early glimpse of the 2023 mayoral race, as 15th Ward Ald. Raymond Lopez made a campaign stop on Archer Avenue. Lopez was the guest of honor at a “meet and greet” held at the…

election 2022

Two incumbents square off in new 6th District

Newman, Casten battle for Dem nod By Steve Metsch It doesn’t happen often, but voters in the new 6th Congressional District have an unusual choice in the June 28 Democratic primary. Because of redistricting, two sitting members of Congress–Marie Newman and Sean Casten– are going toe-to-toe for the nomination in the June 28 primary. The…

pathlights Ice Cream Fundraising Flyer 6.17.22

Fundraiser is Sunday for Pathlights

Tinley Park nonprofit One Less to Help One More is hosting a special community fundraiser for Pathlights in honor of June’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Month from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sunday, June 26, at Oberweis at 7202 W. 159th Street in Orland Park. For shoppers, 20% of your purchases will be donated…

USPS logo new

Mail truck loses load on Harlem Avenue

By Bob Bong A U.S. Postal Service truck leaving a local post office spilled its load at Harlem Avenue and 103rd Street Tuesday morning. Palos Hills Police Deputy Chief Tony Carroccio said the truck was driving with its rear door open at 3 a.m. when it dropped packages all over Harlem Avenue near 103rd Street.…

reporter worth welcome sign

Worth considering limits on tobacco stores

By Joe Boyle The Worth Village Board is considering establishing an ordinance that would put limits on where tobacco stores can operate in the village. Worth is not a home rule municipality and therefore cannot vote to put a limit on the amount of tobacco stores in the village. Greg Jones, the village attorney, is…

Election-Vote-Logo-1024x631

Incumbent Zalewski faces challenger for Dem nod in 21st District

By Steve Metsch Taking a break from the campaign trail – talking on a cell phone as he walked door to door – state Rep. Michael Zalewski (21st) said the choice facing Democratic voters on June 28 is simple. “I’ve said consistently that it’s the choice for voters between a record and a promise,” Zalewski…

Totally Blown had its tobacco license suspended for 30 days and its lawyers are seeking a lighter punishment. (Photo by Jeff Vorva)

Orland Park smoke and vape shop looking for a lesser punishment

By Jeff Vorva Truly Blown Smoke and Vape appealed to the Village of Orland Park Board of Trustees to lighten up a 30-day suspension for selling products to underage customers. The business was also fined and had its tobacco license suspended for 30 days during a June 1 hearing. The appeal was held on Monday,…

DVN McDonalds 7701 Harlem House Ad
CRR NH Ptecik Bakery House Ad