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Today Governor Bruce Rauner issued a proclamation calling for Special Session in Springfield, to further urge action on school funding reform.

SB1 is the current education funding reform bill that passed both Chambers in the General Assembly on May 31st, but since then, no further action has been taken on the bill due to a procedural move by Democrats in the Illinois Senate.

As is, schools cannot open in the fall. While $778 million in funds for K-12 education were allocated in the budget passed earlier this month, they cannot be distributed until a new evidence based education funding model is passed.

Governor Rauner has stated his plans to issue an amendatory veto of SB1, and remove the Chicago Public Schools’ pension bailout within the legislation. The bill currently gives CPS $221 million for their pension costs through the school funding formula. While other school districts are funded through the state pension code, CPS is the only school district that pays the employer contribution for their teacher pensions.

In its current form, SB1 directs 64% of all new funds for education to Chicago Public Schools, which represents $495 of the $778 million--despite the fact that CPS has only 19% of the state’s student population. The evidence based funding model uses tiers to determine the schools that are in the greatest need; money is given first to the neediest school districts. Yet because of distortions, CPS was moved to a tier one school district allowing them to get a larger share of new money.

The alternate plan to school funding reform would fairly distribute new money to all schools statewide, instead of favoring one district over all the rest. Governor Rauner recently launched a website to help calculate individual school district’s school funding under SB1124. Using this model, more funding would be given to every school district.

Special session will convene Wednesday in Springfield where lawmakers will continue to work toward an agreeable solution.

House Bill 4069 is good for all the state’s 852 school districts. Unlike Senate Bill 1, the legislation does not single out one district to pit students from different regions against each other. Instead, all schools are all treated the same under a formula that is the same for everyone regardless of their zip code.
State Representative Christine Winger recently held an informational property tax seminar, where she gathered local tax assessors to help explain the property tax assessment and appeal process. The event helped area residents understand how their properties are assessed and provided information about the appeal process, should they find their assessments unfair.

Property tax assessors from Bloomingdale, Addison, Wayne and Hanover Townships helped give a detailed presentation. During the event, Rep. Winger also addressed the state’s property tax issue and discussed legislation considered in the general assembly on the matter. “This event gives area residents the necessary information, resources and tools to understand exactly how their property tax bills are calculated,” said Winger. With the event held just after area property tax bills were mailed, it gave residents the perfect opportunity to ask any questions about the process specific to their community.

The Representative has hosted this event annually, and each year the event draws a full crowd. “Property taxes are a top issue for my constituents and hosting this event at this time is a priority so everyone in the area has access to the right information,” said Winger.

For questions on the seminar or to request information, please contact Rep. Winger’s District office at (847) 252-9311.
Last week, the House of Representatives adjourned without reaching a budget agreement. The fiscal year deadline was extended to June 30th, giving lawmakers a few more weeks to come to an agreement on the state budget, and a solution to Illinois’ fiscal crisis.

This year the House did not address any budget proposals that make any effort to pay down the state’s massive backlog of bills. Instead, the proposal considered in the Senate proposed to spend $5 billion more than revenue forecast of $32 billion for the fiscal year 2018.

State Representative Christine Winger (R-Wood Dale) voiced her concern about the lack of a state budget after the close of the spring legislative session in Springfield last week:

“The state budget crisis continues as we concluded legislative session. Continuing to operate without a budget is damaging to all residents and the future of our state. We need a budget that will address the true obligations of our state, and this will only happen through genuine compromise.”

With the unfunded pension liability nearing $130 billion, inadequate and inequitable school funding, and the highest property taxes in the nation, much needs to be accomplished to move Illinois forward. The House of Representatives should continue to meet throughout the month of June in the hopes of reaching a balanced budget agreement.
The O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission (ONCC) will be voting on a third test schedule to measure noise from O’Hare Airport. They will meet on June 3rd to decide the nature of the third test.

The first two testing initiatives used alternate methods to help reduce noise levels surrounding residential communities experience from the airport. The first test began in 2016 and for 25 weeks it tested noise relief efforts by alternating arrival and departure runways for overnight traffic. Due to the popularity of the first test amongst area communities, a second test was commissioned. This second initiative began in late April and for 12 weeks, has incorporated new combinations and patterns for flight arrivals and departures. Still ongoing, this test will conclude in mid-June, and will help improve existing runway rotation plans.

It has since been determined that a third test is needed, which will incorporate a new model. There have been several different suggested plans as to what runways will be used. Such proposals have suggested hybrid pairings of different runways, or alternating between east/west and diagonal runways for nighttime traffic.

Should the ONCC approve the third test for airport noise relief, it is likely to last much longer than the previous two test schedules. Read more on the potential test schedule and plans here.

State Representative Christine Winger has launched her third annual summer reading program.

The program is open to K-5th graders who live in Rep. Winger’s 45th District. Students are asked to read 8 books of their choice, and send their completed reading list form back to Rep. Winger to be invited to a special party in the fall! You can find the brochure here that includes information and instructions on how to participate.

Winger holds her reading program every summer to encourage students to keep learning during their time away from school. “Reading during the summer months is important so students can continue learning and thinking creatively,” said Winger. “This program is a fun opportunity, to keep students engaged and on track, and something that I hope they look forward to participating in every summer,” said the Representative. Rep. Winger wants every student to enjoy their summer vacation, and have fun choosing good books to read!

The program is officially open and will run through August 21st, when forms are due back in Rep. Winger’s District Office. Click here to find out if you live in Rep. Winger’s 45th Legislative District.

Should you have any questions about the program, contact Rep. Winger’s office at (847) 252-9311.
State Representative Christine Winger recently welcomed students from Westfield Middle School to her district office to celebrate their accomplishments in art.

Twice a year, pieces of artwork completed by the Westfield students is hand selected to hang in Rep. Winger’s Student Art Gallery in her district office.

The students are invited to Winger’s office to see their artwork in the gallery, meet their Representative, and celebrate their artistic talents with the fellow artists and their families. Each student that was honored was presented with a Certificate of Recognition from the Illinois House of Representatives.

Winger encouraged each artist to speak about their work, and say a few words about their process and final product. “Every piece of artwork chosen this time is very colorful, and adds a great touch to the office” said Winger. “It is wonderful to be able to display the talents of local students’ right here for all to see, and a pleasure to be able to meet each artist in person,” she added.

The student art gallery gives the Representative a unique opportunity to connect with young students in the community, and celebrate their creative learning.

Rep. Winger’s student art gallery incorporates a new group of student art twice a year, something the Representative looks forward to every time, to not only meet with students and hear about their creative learning but also celebrate the great talents in the community.