Springfield Public Schools

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  As students across Illinois begin the new school year their schools are using funds that rely heavily on property tax wealth. But supporters of a new plan say now is the time to change that.

Illinois' school funding formula works like this: school districts collect property taxes from their residents, then depending on how property-wealthy or property-poor an area is, the state pitches in its share. That frequently means poorer districts stay poor because the state can't give enough, and wealthier districts remain wealthy.

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Jennifer Gill assumes her duties as Springfield District 186 Superintendent today.  Gill is a native of Springfield and has worked as a teacher, administrator and building principal in the district.

More recently she served as Director of Teaching and Learning at McLean County Unit 5 in Bloomington Normal.

This is her first job as superintendent.  She inherits a district facing annual budget deficits and disagreement over whether or not to try for a tax referendum.  She'll also have to work with a board that has previously fought publicly over a variety of issues.

District 186 Board Talks Tax Hikes

Oct 8, 2013
District 186

The Springfield public school board is on the hunt for more revenue. The latest idea is actually one that was tried before. Board vice president Adam Lopez says the district should push again for a one percent sales tax hike. While a parent's group wants a property tax referendum, Board President Chuck Flamini says raising the SALES tax would mean tourists and others coming in to the area to shop would contribute.

Residents of Springfield can provide input online as District 186 continues a search for its next leader.

School Exec Connect, the firm hired to help with the superintendent search,  has set up a web-based survey which asks about leadership qualities and goals that are a priority for the community.

School board member Scott McFarland says the survey is an opportunity to get feedback from those who weren't able to attend community meetings this summer.