New Funding Formula For Illinois Schools Remains In Limbo

Jun 14, 2017

The Democrat-backed Senate Bill 1 could increase state funding for all Illinois public schools over the next decade. It’s based on a complex formula to determine each district’s current gap to reach ideal adequacy targets for learning.

The main sticking point is what most Republican lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner's office feel is special treatment for Chicago Public Schools.

State Rep. Bob Pritchard, R-Hinckley, was a member of Rauner's funding reform commission. He helped craft parts of the plan and chose not to vote when the measure came up in the House.

“If [Governor Rauner] vetoes it and it comes back that we have to start over, I certainly will be working for a better bill," Pritchard said. "But in the final analysis, we are still going to have the same ingredients. You are still going to have Chicago that can’t pay for what it currently has and it is looking for any new source of dollars. This is a model that would direct where the money should go.”

Rep. Litesa Wallace, D-Rockford, says she's willing to support the plan because she believes it will make school funding more equitable.

“We can no longer function in the 21st century when we literally can say, based upon the ZIP code a child was born in, 'This is the subpar education they may receive' or 'This is the excellent education they may receive,'” she said.

SB1 has an uphill climb. It needs to be fueled by a state budget and millions of dollars in new revenue.

On Wednesday, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin announced the Capitol Compromise plan which includes his party's ideas to overhaul the education funding formula.