Winners, losers predictable in governor's ed funding plan

edfund losers 2016 ftr

How would individual school districts fare under Gov. Bruce Rauner's funding plan for education? The Illinois State Board of Education released their projected numbers today.

With ISBE's detailed breakdown published, every school district in Illinois now has a sense of how they would do under the governor's proposed education budget. Rauner’s plan puts more money into the state’s current education funding formula, which was enacted in 1997, without a plan to update that formula. Despite the increase in funding, many schools that have been making cuts in recent years due to limited state funding would be facing yet another cut. 

edfund winners 2016Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) is the sponsor of Senate Bill 231, a plan that would update the state’s antiquated school funding formula and replace it with a modern formula that sends state money to schools based on student need. Under the new formula, the state would calculate how much each school district needs based on the makeup of their student body.

In addition, no school would lose state funding in the first year, and budgeting provisions would help schools plan for four years. 

“This information gives us the opportunity to thoroughly debate the merits of the governor’s plan. Each school district deserves to know how it would fare under it," said Manar. “Unfortunately, what I’m seeing is that the additional money flowing into the formula would continue to be funneled away from schools with the greatest need.”

“Putting more money into education is a great idea, but our flawed funding formula means that districts that lack resources and have been hit hard by cuts -- districts like Taylorville, East St. Louis, Harvey and Streator -- will be hit once again. In these four districts alone, there’s over $1.3 million in combined cuts.  It’s not fair to the students, teachers, parents or taxpayers. These numbers show why change is needed.”

isbe forecast linkState Senators Donne Trotter and Mattie Hunter, both of Chicago, said a Democratic-backed overhaul of Illinois’ outdated school funding formula is a better approach.

“The numbers speak for themselves. Some of the most disenfranchised students across our state will lose because of our state’s broken funding formula,” said Trotter, the Illinois Senate Appropriations II chairman. “This is a thinly-veiled attempt to propose new cuts to poor families.”

The current funding structure, unchanged since 1997, makes Illinois the second-most unbalanced school funding system in the nation.

“In some school districts, students have access to cutting-edge technology and iPads. In other districts, 30 students crowd around a shared, outdated text book,” Hunter said. “The governor’s plan fails to address the need for an overhaul of our current system.”