Who Benefits When The School Funding Formula Is Re-Crunched?

Apr 15, 2014

School superintendents in Illinois are getting a chance to weigh in on what could be a huge change in the state’s public school funding formula. 

Freshman State Senators Andy Manar and Steve Stadelman meet with superintendents from public schools in Winnebago and Boone counties at The Regional Superintendent's office in Loves Park.
Credit Susan Stephens / WNIJ

School leaders from Winnebago and Boone counties met with State Senator Andy Manar Monday to talk about the bill he’s sponsoring, "The School Funding Reform Act of 2014.”

“We have to have a broad conversation about how to appropriately account for local property wealth in a greater degree than our school funding formula. That’s not pitting groups against each other, or pitting neighboring school districts against each other, in many cases. But I think it’s an appropriate conversation to have and that’s what Senate Bill 16 is designed to do. “

Manar’s legislation proposes changing the state’s education funding formula so more than ninety percent of the money is distributed to districts based on need: right now, it’s less than half. Districts with more low-income students and lower property values are expected to benefit from the formula change.  

Superintendents at Monday’s  meeting had a variety of concerns: North Boone superintendent  Steve Baule  wants to make sure the funding formula  includes homeless students.

“Which requires at the federal level, we have a lot of additional services for those children that are not reimbursed by the federal government and state. It would be nice to make sure those issues were accountable in any formula change that we make.”

The education committee that came up with the new formula will continue to collect comments from educators, parents, students, and taxpayers as the bill moves through the State Senate.