School Funding Deal Faces Election Year Hurdles

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have come together to propose changes to Illinois' school funding formula that would narrow the gap between rich and poor districts.

But the upcoming election casts doubt on whether lawmakers will act on the plan detailed in a bipartisan Senate committee report.

The proposal would put almost all state education funding into one pot, then require districts to demonstrate need.

The current method factors in a district's poverty for some types of state aid, but not others. It also treats Chicago school funding differently.

Backers say it's the time to make changes because Illinois lawmakers face a tough budget year in which further cuts to school funding are a real possibility.

The state's school funding formula has not been changed since the mid-1990s.

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