Rep. Wilhour Measure Creating School District Efficiency Commission Heads to State Senate

The Illinois House unanimously approved legislation State Representative Blaine Wilhour is co-sponsoring to create the School District Efficiency Commission to reduce unnecessary costs and save taxpayers money.

The legislation (House Bill 3053) creates the School District Efficiency Commission and requires the Commission to vote on recommendations and submit a report to the Governor and the General Assembly by May 1, 2020. The Commission’s recommendations must focus on reducing the money spent on duplication of efforts; lowering the property tax burden; providing recommendations on what the net cost savings of realignment is to the State; and reducing the number of school districts by at least 25% through the reorganization of school districts into unit districts.

Illinois has more than 850 school districts in 102 counties.  By comparison Florida has fewer than 100 school districts and they have a population that is 15 million greater than Illinois. 

“We simply have too many school districts,” Wilhour said. “In order to reduce our overbearing property tax burden and properly fund our schools, we must become more efficient. If properly implemented, this bill creates a pathway to reducing our school districts by up to 40% without closing a
single school or eliminating a single teaching position. This legislation is just common sense.” 

The legislation provides that if the Commission adopts the report recommendations by an affirmative vote of at least 11 of its members, then the Commission’s recommendations for reorganization of school districts into unit school districts must be placed on the ballots of the designated school districts in the next general election.

“If this legislation becomes law, voters could have a chance to vote on moving their local school districts into a unit district as soon as the November election next year,” Wilhour said. “This is good news for taxpayers. It is time for Illinois to start prioritizing classroom funding over the bureaucracy.”

House Bill 3053 has been assigned to the Senate’s Government Accountability and Pensions Committee and is scheduled for a public hearing on May 15 at the Capitol.