The Illinois State Board of Education has completed an analysis of Gov. Bruce Rauner’s amendatory veto of an education funding bill, but the administration said it won’t release the results until a review is completed, a spokeswoman for the governor said. Rauner spokeswoman Laurel Patrick said the education board delivered its analysis to the governor’s office late Monday afternoon. That analysis is expected to show how his changes affect school districts across the state.
“Given the complexity of the education funding formula and the fact that this type of analysis requires cross-collaboration between multiple state agencies and departments, the governor’s office has requested a meeting with ISBE Tuesday morning to review the analysis. We will release the numbers once the review is complete,” Patrick said. Rauner has predicted the analysis will show that what he is doing is “right and just and fair” and that his plan will “carry the day” even as independent government watchdogs have found that his changes could mean school districts across the state gradually lose money in future years.
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But spreadsheets are the school-funding equivalent of Cliff Notes, a shortcut that skips nuances that might show up on the test. That’s especially true with this new funding model. It has built-in recalibration mechanisms to annually rebalance what each district needs to achieve adequacy against its capacity to bear that cost.
Take, for example, student enrollment: “Under SB1, if you lose student population, you’ll get less money from the new state distribution,” said Ralph Martire, director of the bipartisan Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, “because your adequacy target will be reduced. It’s not as if the formula ignores it.”
Martire has been working on this school funding model since 2010.
“But, if you’re below adequacy, you still get more money than you got the prior year, so you can move towards adequacy,” he added. “That’s the beauty of how SB1 works. The math actually accommodates all situations — student population growth or loss.”
This particular feature got the axe under Rauner’s veto. He would cut dollars for schools with declining enrollments, even if they’re already underfunded. The prime example of such a district is Chicago Public Schools.
This AV is all about CPS. More in a bit.