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Full year funding, no proration in K-12 education bill

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Amid the budgetary tug of war taking place in Illinois, one thing everyone agrees on is the need to fully fund K-12 education.

Unlike other portions of the state budget that passed on Thursday, the portion of the proposal for K-12 education is a full 12-month budget.

That legislation, SB2047, contains almost $300 million for school districts across the state. No district will have to worry about their budgets being prorated; negotiations for K-12 education during a recent leaders meeting with the governor ended with an agreement that all districts will receive 100-percent funding under the current formula.

The Illinois Senate Democrats have pushed to change the way schools are funded, most recently with a measure sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar of Bunker Hill. To change the formula would take time, but it would ensure schools are funded equitably and give local taxpayers relief by removing the reliance on property taxes as the sole revenue source.

“Our true task remains unchanged because we still own the most regressive system of school funding in the country,” Manar said. “Until we address that truth and fix the formula, our work isn’t done.”

The legislation also gave autonomy to Chicago in how it funds its school district and teachers’ pensions, bringing it in line with the rest of the state.