Proposal to Equalize School Funding

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ILLINOIS (WIFR) – Over the last few years, the state budget crunch has forced some local school districts to lay off teachers and scale back after school programs to save money. Now, there’s an effort in Springfield to change the ways schools get state funding so districts may not have to make those kinds of cuts in the future.

The bill’s sponsor State Senator Andy Manar and local senator Steve Stadelman got feedback on the plan rom school superintendents in Boone and Winnebago Counties on the plan. The new system would take into account the poverty level in a district to provide more dollars for those students. Stadelman says the Rockford schools would likely benefit and get more dollars if this law passes.

"The basic premise here is that no matter where a child lives, that should not determine how good an education that student gets. There are current inequities in the current distribution system so we’re trying to add some fairness into how that money is being distributed,” said Sen. Steve Stadelman.

If this passed, funding for Chicago Schools would be calculated like the rest of the districts in Illinois. It isn’t right now. The measure passed a senate committee but still has to be voted on by the full senate.

The proposal calls for 92% of funding to be distributed based on school districts’ poverty levels. It’s about half that right now. Last year, the state spent nearly $7 billion on education, but under half of that was set aside to help schools. That’s much lower compared to other states. The formula for allocating money to public schools hasn’t been changed since 1997.

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