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The Majority Report 08/29/17 - BREAKING: Senate passes historic overhaul of school funding formula


Sens. Kimberly A. Lightford and Andy ManarSenate passes historic overhaul of school funding formula

In a vote years in the making, the Illinois Senate today approved a measure that will overhaul the state's broken school funding formula.

Senator Andy Manar, the sponsor of Senate Bill 1 and a long-time champion of school funding reform, said this plan will fund schools fairly for the first time in decades.

"There will not be another generation of students that are subjected to inequity - the worst in the country - after this bill becomes law," Manar said. "That's something worth saying today."

Manar and other legislators have tried for years to replace Illinois' antiquated formula - one that has been called the worst in the nation. Currently, schools are funded largely through property taxes, meaning wealthier districts are better funded than districts with a high number of low-income students. This perpetuates a system of winners and losers and diverts funds away from those who need it the most.

The new plan takes a $350 million increase in public school funding and distributes the money fairly, relying on an evidence-based model to determine the amount of money needed to provide a high-quality education for each student. This new system recognizes the individual needs of each school district and targets resources to those who most need assistance.

No school district would receive less money than it did the year before, and funding would increase each year based on the district's evolving needs. School districts and their board will have certainty each year about how much state funding they can expect to receive, which will make budgeting easier and more effective.

Today's vote replaced a decades-old, unfair funding formula with a system that directs state funds to the districts that need them the most. Under this measure, every student in Illinois will have an equal shot at a high-quality education.


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