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Latino Effect? Passing Tax and Bond Referenda in Illinois School Districts
Unformatted Document Text:  This citizenship pattern is not found among the other two predominant racial groups in Illinois, Blacks and whites, and the pattern is even more pronounced among Illinois parents of public school students, as can be seen in Figure 4 on page 16. In 2000, for example, nearly 50% of Latino parents of public school children were not citizens, as compared to just 3% of whites and under 2% of Blacks. Citizenship status impacts whether an Illinois resident is able to vote, and appears to explain a large part of the differences in voting behavior between Latinos, whites, and Blacks, as shown in Figure 5 on page 17. While only 28% of Latino residents in Illinois voted in the 2000 November election as compared to 60% of white residents and 67% of Black residents, this is largely due to their citizenship status. Among citizens, almost 55% of Latino citizens voted, as compared to 69% of Black citizens and 62% of white citizens. Thus, although there was still a gap in voting patterns, it is not nearly as pronounced once citizenship status is accounted for. How does all this relate back to Illinois school districts and bond and tax referenda? If Latino residents, especially Latino parents, are largely unable to vote due to citizenship status, it is left to the other voters in the local community to make the school funding decisions. These voters may reject calls for increased funding of schools serving the Latino children of the community. However, it remains for us to more fully explore why there is a Latino effect that hinders Illinois school districts as they attempt to pass tax referenda. Some factors, which cannot be addressed by our data, are involved in a decision by voters to pass school funding referenda. This might include, for example, disagreement among the voters over how the district plans to spend the additional funds, or how much effort the district has made to publicize and gain support for the proposed referendum. Further case studies of particular Illinois school districts with and without Latino populations may be the best manner in which to improve our understanding of the Latino effect. 9

Authors: McKillip, Mary. and Chapa, Jorge.
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This citizenship pattern is not found among the other two predominant racial groups in
Illinois, Blacks and whites, and the pattern is even more pronounced among Illinois parents of
public school students, as can be seen in Figure 4 on page 16. In 2000, for example, nearly 50%
of Latino parents of public school children were not citizens, as compared to just 3% of whites
and under 2% of Blacks.
Citizenship status impacts whether an Illinois resident is able to vote, and appears to
explain a large part of the differences in voting behavior between Latinos, whites, and Blacks, as
shown in Figure 5 on page 17. While only 28% of Latino residents in Illinois voted in the 2000
November election as compared to 60% of white residents and 67% of Black residents, this is
largely due to their citizenship status. Among citizens, almost 55% of Latino citizens voted, as
compared to 69% of Black citizens and 62% of white citizens. Thus, although there was still a
gap in voting patterns, it is not nearly as pronounced once citizenship status is accounted for.
How does all this relate back to Illinois school districts and bond and tax referenda? If
Latino residents, especially Latino parents, are largely unable to vote due to citizenship status, it
is left to the other voters in the local community to make the school funding decisions. These
voters may reject calls for increased funding of schools serving the Latino children of the
community.
However, it remains for us to more fully explore why there is a Latino effect that hinders
Illinois school districts as they attempt to pass tax referenda. Some factors, which cannot be
addressed by our data, are involved in a decision by voters to pass school funding referenda. This
might include, for example, disagreement among the voters over how the district plans to spend
the additional funds, or how much effort the district has made to publicize and gain support for
the proposed referendum. Further case studies of particular Illinois school districts with and
without Latino populations may be the best manner in which to improve our understanding of the
Latino effect.
9


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