* Press release…
The Fix the Formula campaign and the Funding Illinois’ Future coalition urge the Governor to sign Senate Bill 444, which clarifies a minor technical error in SB1947, Illinois’ historic school funding overhaul. In August, SB1947 ended an era of the state having the most inequitable school funding system in the nation.
With any major legislation there are technicalities that need clarification so that the language matches the intent of the law. We support SB444 because the clarification meets our core principles as a coalition and preserves the intent of SB1947, which drives dollars to the neediest districts, those that have the fewest local resources and are the least well-funded.
We urge the Governor to sign SB444 swiftly so that the Illinois State Board of Education can start to disburse funding under the new formula.
* Illinois Public Radio did a story on the bill earlier this week…
Eleven Republican Senators voted against the cleanup bill last week. Afterwards, one of those 11 — Sen. Jason Barickman, from Bloomington — said he just wanted to see how the numbers would’ve changed without tying up the loose ends.
“We always said we want to see numbers before we do things,” Barickman said. “So, I didn’t make a big deal out of it today, I don’t think it is a big deal. But it would’ve been nice to stick to the process.”
When I asked him to predict whether Rauner sign this seemingly tiny technical bill, Barickman indicated he had given up predicting the governor’s actions. “Sometimes,” he said, “you don’t even wanna predict your own.”
More cleanup bills are on the horizon. The biggest one would ensure state funding for pre-kindergarten English learners. Lawmakers will likely tackle that topic in January.