News Local/State

Unit 4 Wary Of Changes To School Funding

Champaign Unit 4 school district attorney Tom Lockman with a screen of some of the district's digital media policies in his office in Champaign on Wednesday, April 1, 2015.

Champaign Unit 4 school district Chief Financial and Legal Officer Tom Lockman has concerns about SB 1. Darrell Hoemann/

Proposed legislation in Springfield has Champaign Unit 4 Schools officials concerned about a possible big loss in state funding.  Chief Financial and Legal Officer Tom Lockman made a presentation to the Unit 4 school board on Monday night about Senate Bill 1's possible financial impact to the district, and discussed it with Illinois Public Media's Brian Moline.

Lockman says that if the legislation passes as it's currently written, the district would lose more than $11 million in general state aid.  However, the district would still receive that money in the form of two grants: a PTELL (Property Tax Extension Limitation Law) grant of about $3 million, and an Adequacy Grant of $8.6 million.  Lockman says having that much state money coming in the form of grants makes the district uneasy.

"It's difficult to say on the one hand that there's not money to fund certain things," Lockman said, "then on the other hand say you're going to get this grant that is entirely new money to make up the difference."

Lockman said that the sponsor of the legislation, Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), has met with Unit 4 officials to discuss the law's possible impact on the district.  Senate Bill 1 has not yet passed out of committee.

According to Lockman's presentation to the school board, the Unit 4 district would lose more than $11 million in general state aid, while Mahomet-Seymour and Tolono Unit 7 would each lose about $1 million.  Urbana, Rantoul Township High School, and Rantoul City Schools would all gain state general aid under Manar's proposal.