school funding




Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner announced in July that he was creating a bipartisan commission to change the way the state funds public schools. That commission held its third meeting this week. But another commission is tackling the same topic, and its founder claims her group is getting more work done.

Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

The state budget impasse has forced schools to come up with plans for how they’ll open next year without state funding.


It’s a decision which schools that operate year-round have to confront sooner than most.  

Some school districts designate just a handful of buildings to operate year-round, but in Rock Island, every school is on that schedule.

The school board has considered cost-saving measures, like eliminating athletics and band, as well as debt options like opening a line of credit.

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

More than a dozen school superintendents have written a letter to Republican Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner accusing him of playing politics with education funding.

School leaders including from Chicago, Peoria and East Moline sent the letter Monday to Rauner. They say schools won't open on time and call Illinois' funding formula the nation's most "regressive." 

They also claim stand-alone school funding bills Republicans introduced at session's end continue unequal spending.

Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

The Illinois Senate has approved a second method for revamping school funding just days before the Legislature's scheduled adjournment.

The proposal by Democratic Sen. Kimberly Lightford of Maywood would rewrite the state-aid formula beginning with the 2017-2018 school year with an interim funding and fairness boost for his fall. It passed 31-18.

The interim plan would establish a funding "foundation" for each district similar to Bunker Hill Democratic Sen. Andy Manar's plan the Senate OK'd this month.

Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois superintendents warned of school closures and staff layoffs as they implored state lawmakers to pass a budget to give them certainty for the fall.

Education funding is the only portion of the budget for the current year that Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed, meaning schools have largely been spared the consequences of the budget impasse.

But superintendents from districts including Kankakee, Moline, and Streator expressed worry Tuesday that there's no agreement for next year yet.