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Senate panel approves Manar’s school funding reform proposal

manar 032416SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Andy Manar’s (D-Bunker Hill) plan to update the state’s education funding formula passed through the Senate Executive committee on Wednesday.

The legislation, Senate Bill 231, provides that state funding for education would be distributed based on student need while ensuring that no district would receive less state money than it did in the 2015-16 school year.

“Today’s vote was a great step forward in changing what is, without a doubt, the least equitable system of funding education in the nation,” Manar said. “I’m fully committed to hearing input from everyone in the legislature, and throughout the state as this proceeds through the legislature.” The legislation comes after lengthy conversations with school district leaders and lawmakers statewide, as well as careful attention to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desire that no school district lose money under any reform of the state’s school funding formula.

Several advocates, community stakeholders and school officials were present for the hearing. Josh Cauhorn, a Chicago-based attorney and former teacher who published an extensive review of the history of school funding in Illinois, was among those in attendance.

"Illinois's current funding system chooses winners and losers, funding schools in areas with Illinois's most needy children as low as one-quarter the level of winner schools in wealthy areas,” Cauhorn said.  

“SB 231 rebuilds America's most regressive funding formula from the ground-up with the singular goal to direct dollars directly to classrooms, while at the same time treating all Illinois children equitably and ending the current system that punishes children based on where they live.

“Children should not lose out and start their adult lives at a disadvantage because of their zip code.”

Senate Bill 231 passed the Executive committee and now goes before the full Senate for consideration.