Last summer, Exelon announced its plans to close nuclear power plants in Byron and Dresden. Buster Barton, the Superintendent of Byron’s School District, said taxes from the Byron plant accounted for around 75% of the district’s revenue.
So, what happens if that goes away? What happens when a school loses that much money?
Illinois uses an Evidence-Based Funding formula to fund K-12 schools, which means schools with the least amount of local revenue get the most state funding.
Right now, Byron is a Tier-4 school district, which means it gets a high level of local support.
Max Weiss with the Illinois State Board of Education said that if the district loses up to three-quarters of its revenue, it would move to a different tier, and receive more state aid.
“However, that gain in tier funding is unlikely to replace the loss of property tax receipts from a significant drop in a district’s property wealth,” he said.
But it could replace a chunk of the lost revenue. Weiss says a professional review panel at the state board is examining situations like this where there’s such a dramatic drop. The panel has yet to finish its study or make any official recommendations.
Meanwhile, Illinois Congressman Adam Kinzinger just introduced a bill aimed to save the nuclear facilities. The Byron community has also launched multiple efforts to help keep the plant and its hundreds of jobs.