Schools to receive new money from education funding overhaul

IL School Buses

Illinois schools will soon see millions in new money through the education funding overhaul passed by the Senate last year.

The Illinois State Board of Education on Thursday issued vouchers to the state comptroller that clear the way for local school districts to begin receiving money under Illinois’ new evidence-based model of funding public schools.

The distribution – which is based on detailed enrollment figures, district-specific student learning needs, available local resources and other data – is the first step toward right-sizing state support for every school district. No schools will ever receive less state funding than they do today under the new plan.

“The data we have now reinforces what we already knew: that there is astonishing unfairness in how school districts around Illinois are funded,” said Senator Andy Manar, who sponsored the school funding reform legislation. “There are school districts in this state with more than double the amount of resources it should take to educate their particular students, while other school districts have barely half of what they need. It’s been this way of years, and it’s going to come to an end.”

Manar said Macoupin County school districts will receive more than $2.5 million in new money under the formula change. Of the eight public school districts in Macoupin County, ISBE categorized all of them as “Tier 1,” meaning they are among the most underfunded districts in the state.

Other members of the Senate Democratic Caucus said the funding will provide much-needed relief to schools in their districts.

“Thanks to hundreds of hours of bipartisan committees and the hard work of students, educators and parents, this is a historic day for Rockford and Harlem school districts. This new formula offers our schools the stability they need to educate future generations,” Senator Steve Stadelman said.

Rockford-area schools will receive an additional $9.3 million under the new model.

Senator Terry Link said Lake County schools will receive more than $17 million in new funding this year.

“When we passed education funding reform last year, we recognized that each school district in our state has unique needs that should be taken into consideration when we distribute funds,” Link said. “With these funds released, the neediest districts will get the most funding, giving every student in Illinois an equal opportunity for a quality education.”