Reports

UPDATED: Illinois Property Taxes

Release: May 14, 2015

This Issue Brief is an update to a 2007 Brief, and provides an overview of who pays property taxes in Illinois, the steps in the property tax cycle, and what property tax revenue is used for. 

Analysis of Indiana School Choice Scholarship Program

Release: April 16, 2015

Recently, a number of states and cities across America have incorporated elements of school choice into their education systems in the hopes of improving student achievement. Starting in 2011 and expanded in 2013, Indiana joined this movement by enacting three bills—House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1001, HEA 1002 and HEA 1003—which, when taken together, create one of the more comprehensive school choice programs in the nation (collectively the “Indiana Choice Legislation”).  At its core, the Indiana Choice Legislation utilizes public tax dollars to subsidize school choice. These subsidies come in the form of vouchers, state income tax deductions and state income tax credits.

Indiana’s goal of enhancing student achievement is laudable.  It also directly coincides with growing national concern over the academic performance of America’s school children as measured under respected, international benchmarks like the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) “Programme for International Student Assessment” (PISA) exam.  Indeed, in the most recent PISA exams, the performance of America’s children (considered as a whole) came in at just 27th in math, 20th in science, and 17th in reading.

The question for policy makers in Indiana then, is can Indiana expect its school choice program to enhance student performance or help build a better public education system statewide?

This paper will not utilize in its analysis studies conducted by organizations with a clear bias, be it pro-voucher or anti-voucher. It instead draws on objective, peer-reviewed analyses. The goal is to answer two key questions about the Indiana Choice Legislation as objectively as possible.

First, does the actual documented track record of existing voucher programs demonstrate that those programs in fact achieved the desired goal of enhancing student achievement? Here, the short and clear answer is no.

Second, can voucher programs be expected to enhance student performance or improve public education systems, based on the education reforms implemented in the nations that currently rank in the top five in the world in reading, math, and science under PISA? Again, based on the evidence, the answer is no.

Fact Sheet: SB16—School Funding Reform Act of 2014

Release: November 11, 2014

To address concerns about inequity in the Illinois' K-12 education funding formula, the Illinois Senate unanimously established the Education Funding Advisory Committee or “EFAC” in July of 2013. One specific goal supported by EFAC was making said distribution more equitable from a needs-based standpoint. In April of 2014, Senator Andy Manar (D-48) introduced SB16 in part to implement some of EFAC’s recommendations. CTBA's Fact Sheet outlines the primary goals, basic mechanics, and equity concerns of SB16.

Analysis of Proposed FY2014 Chicago Public Schools Budget

Release: August 27, 2013

Despite an increase in spending, Chicago Public Schools is proposing to eliminate 1,520 instruction positions and draw down reserves to dangerous levels in its FY2014 proposed budget. This is, partly, because CPS has underfunded the Chicago Teachers' Pension Fund and there has been a decline in state funding to CPS. CTBA's Analysis of the FY2014 Chicago Public Schools Budget Proposal illustrates the challenges CPS faces today.

"For Each and Every Child"

Release: August 12, 2013

Ralph Martire's presentation on national education reform and the the federal Equity and Excellence Commission's report presented at the National Conference of State Legislators in Atlanta, GA.

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