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Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2007 02:32 pm

A good start

Group to meet at UIS to discuss education reform

Untitled Document The problem with Illinois’ system of public-education funding is well documented. Though many agree that the formula relies too much on local property taxes, others think the issue is spending rather than funding. “Our state doesn’t show the will to address what we’ve done with the money we’ve spent, so how will more money solve the problem?” asks Joe Calomino, Illinois director of Americans for Prosperity, a national group that advocates for issues of fiscal conservatism.
A tax swap — which is how one piece of legislation that seeks to remedy the school-financing formula, House Bill 750, is often characterized — won’t fix the problem, Calomino says. Whatever the case, something needs to happen — there needs to be more dialogue, he says. On Monday, Jan. 5, Calomino’s group will be in Springfield to discuss the challenges of education reform in Illinois. The talk takes place at 6 p.m. at the University of Illinois at Springfield.
Panelists include Illinois Business Roundtable president Jeff Mays, Heartland Institute fellow Dr. George Clowes, Illinois Network of Charter Schools director Elizabeth Evans, and the Illinois Policy Institute’s education policy and reform director, Collin Hitt. Hitt, who lives in Springfield, has called HB 750 a good place to start. The meeting was scheduled to coincide with Illinois General Assembly’s Education Caucus meeting, which takes place earlier in the day. Calomino says lawmakers were invited to attend the forum. “We have a lot of problems, and we haven’t had a whole lot of leadership to address those problems,” Calomino says.
“Americans for Prosperity doesn’t want to just complain and cry, but we also want to find solutions.”. 

Contact R.L. Nave at rnave@illinoistimes.com.
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