More Time Needed To Determine Funding Effect On Individual Districts

Apr 21, 2014

It'll take until mid-May -- as the legislative session is drawing to a close -- to learn which schools will win, and which will lose, under a proposed new way to fund education in Illinois.

The effort to change how Illinois decides how much state money it gives each district is rooted in the belief that the current formula is outdated, and that it helps perpetuate disparities between schools in wealthy areas and poor ones.

The proposed new method would make funding determinations based on need.

It recently won the endorsement of the State Board of Education, and several education advocacy groups champion it too.

But it's unclear whether the formula has the support to get through the General Assembly.

A key factor for legislators may be how well schools they represent fare.

Credit Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

Board of Education spokesman Matt Vanover says it'll be a few more weeks that information's available.

"Right now staff is going through that extensive legislation and reviewing; trying to identify all of the data points that will be necessary," Vanover said.

Vanover says some of those "data points" are for information the department doesn't currently collect.   He says it should take weeks to build a new model, and run numbers.

Backers of the plan say it shouldn't matter how well individual districts will make out, because the goal should be to treat all students and their schools equitably.