Mazzochi Seeks Relief for School Districts Facing Skyrocketing Unfunded Mandate Costs

State Representative Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) filed
legislation to help school districts whose costs are rising from Illinois’
imposing unfunded mandates—which in turn drives local property tax

Over the last 25 years, Illinois has
eviscerated local school board authority over curriculum, staff training, and school
policy, in some cases even dictating what kind of textbooks schools can buy.

“Springfield dictates a plethora of burdensome
requirements that our school boards don’t want; that our teachers don’t need;
yet never assesses whether they actually improve classroom performance and
benefit our students,” Rep. Mazzochi said. “It isn’t fair to keep asking more
and more of our teachers and our administrators while sticking them with the
bill and the pressure to raise property taxes to cover the cost.”

Mazzochi noted that the State of
Illinois’ current opt-out provision “is illusory.  It can cost a school or teacher more time and
money to endure the opt-out process than to comply with the mandate. This
legislation greatly simplifies the process; it puts the burdens back on the
state where they belong; and restores our school boards, administrators, and
teachers to their proper role of deciding what schools need to deliver to
students.”  Mazzochi also noted that her
legislation, House Bill 4143, specifically lets school districts opt out of
unfunded curriculum mandates if the curriculum fails to improve educational

“Feedback that I received from
administrators and teachers alike is that Illinois’ proliferation of unfunded
mandates takes time out of the classroom; drives up administrator costs; adds
compliance costs; and eventually leads to unnecessary property tax increases,”
Rep. Mazzochi explained. “We should give our local schools the freedom to use
their resources in a way that helps students most, and I look forward to
working with legislators on both sides of the aisle to make that happen.” 

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