* From a press release…
Earlier this year, a bipartisan State Senate committee, created by State Senator Andy Manar (D–Bunker Hill), issued a report acknowledging Illinois’ outdated school funding system and recommending changes be made to the system to better reflect students’ needs.
On Wednesday, Manar, along with other Senate Democrats, introduced the School Funding Reform Act of 2014, a proposal to streamline the current hodgepodge of funding sources into one funding formula that would account for school districts’ funding needs.
“Illinois has the second-most inequitable school funding system in the nation. Our current funding system is doing a disservice to taxpayers, school districts and, most importantly, our children,” Manar said. “The funding system we are proposing will better address student needs, such as socio-economic background, language ability or special learning needs, while also accounting for a school district’s ability to raise funds locally.”
The current funding formula, unchanged since 1997, only distributes 44 cents for every $1 invested in education on the basis of district need. The other 56 cents is distributed to schools through archaic and complicated grants, not based on need.
Under the new funding system, 92 cents of every $1 invested by the State in the K-12 education system, with the exception of funds for early childhood education, construction projects and high-cost special education, would flow through a single funding formula that provides a simple, straight-forward and equitable means to distribute education funds for Illinois school districts.
According to Manar, the new formula would also increase stability and transparency regarding how much state money is provided, how it gets to school districts and how it is spent.