More than 400 school district administrators across Illinois have filed witness slips in opposition to House Bill 3053, a bill that could enable property tax relief while ensuring more education dollars reach students and classrooms first, rather than district administrative bodies.
Over 130 of the school district administrators who filed in opposition to the Classrooms First Act collect six-figure taxpayer-backed salaries, as of May 13.
HB 3053 would create the School District Efficiency Commission, tasked with reviewing the state’s 852 school districts, which together consume nearly two-thirds of property taxes collected in Illinois. The commission would then make recommendations for consolidating school districts, with the goal of reducing the count by a minimum of 25%.
Importantly, consolidation of school districts strictly involves merging administrative bodies, not closing individual schools. On average, Illinois school districts serve just 2,400 students per district, the sixth-lowest among states with school populations over 1 million, as of 2018 – suggesting ample room for cost-savings.
If Illinois served the same number of students per district as Virginia, it would have just 210 districts, 644 fewer than today. The same is true for the two largest student populations – California and Texas. If Illinois served the same number of students per district as California or Texas, the Prairie State today would have 514 and 398 fewer districts, respectively.