public school funding

Carter Staley/NPR Illinois

Illinois’s new school funding plan — approved in August and hailed as a historic change — relies on the legislature to give every school the same state aid it got last year, plus push another $350 million through a new formula. That $350 million is crucial because it’s the part designed to address the inequity that has plagued Illinois schools for decades.

State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Shorewood, wants to make sure lawmakers don't skip that step. She filed a measure Monday tying it to a tax break for those who provide private school scholarships.

One promise heard repeatedly during debate over the state's new school funding plan was that no schools would get less funding than before. But lawmakers siphoned $300 million from a fund that schools and local governments rely upon.

It was part of a separate action implementing the state budget. Vic Zimmerman is superintendent of Monticello schools. He says that fund represents 40% of his budget. 

"We certainly now have huge red numbers because of the divergence to CPPRT and the estimate for this year compared to last year," Zimmerman said.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner put his signature today on a bill that redefines how Illinois public schools are funded. But it also will send overdue money to schools starting up the academic year.

state of Illinois

The Illinois Senate has approved a new system for funding schools that will reduce large disparities between wealthy and poor districts.

Legislators voted 38-13 on Tuesday to approve the plan that passed the House on Monday. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has said he'll sign the bill quickly to get state money to more than 800 districts that have been waiting for funding for the new school year.

Lawmakers have tried for decades to overhaul a school funding formula that's considered the least equitable in the U.S.

Courtesy of Elgin School District U-46

Gov. Bruce Rauner has been drumming up opposition to the Democrats' school-funding plan, known as Senate Bill 1, by touting how much more money each district would receive under his plan.

He points to Elgin School District U-46, the state’s second-largest school district, as the biggest winner: That Kane County city would gain about $15 million if lawmakers approve Rauner’s amendatory veto

So that district's CEO, Tony Sanders, must be rooting for Rauner's plan, right?

Wrong.

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