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 increases.  

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 outcomes.  

“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.”