* Dan Petrella…
Illinois’ top leaders aren’t meeting to discuss the state budget, but a group that includes rank-and-file lawmakers from both parties has been meeting more frequently in recent weeks to come up with a plan to overhaul the way the state funds public schools.
Despite the standstill over the broader state budget, members of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s education funding reform commission say they’re optimistic that the group, which has been meeting since summer, will be able to come up with at least the outlines of what a new school funding formula should look like.
A recent report from Advance Illinois, an education advocacy group, notes that under the current formula, Illinois spends 81 cents educating students from low-income families for every dollar it spends educating kids from wealthier ones.
“That is just upside-down from what we know needs to happen,” said Ginger Ostro, Advance Illinois’ executive director.
So far, however, long-term proposals aimed at fixing the problem haven’t been approved because they would either take money away from wealthier districts or vastly increase state spending on public education, both of which are politically challenging.
The full Advance Illinois report is here.