A new plan to fix Illinois’ broken funding formula would provide all local schools with increased funding according to an analysis from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). Senate Bill 1124, co-sponsored by Senator Bill Brady (R-Bloomington) represents a true bipartisan compromise fix the state’s broken school funding formula and provide a more equitable system for funding all 852 school districts in Illinois than any other previous proposal.
“The best thing we can do for our local school districts is to provide them with the most comprehensive, fair and equitable funding formula possible. Senate Bill 1124 is that formula,” said Brady, who said it incorporates the priorities of legislators representing both chambers and both political parties.
Senator Brady said the legislation is more equitable than any other proposal, and according to the data provided from ISBE, SB 1124 Amendment 3 would do a better job of delivering financial help to low-income students than previous legislation advanced by the General Assembly, including SB 1. In fact, though proponents of SB1 have touted financial increases for schools through tier funding, the ISBE analysis clearly shows every single school district in the state would receive more tier funding under SB 1124 as amended.
“Every single school in the 44th district will get more funding than they did last year, and more funding than they would under Senate Bill 1,” said Brady. “For our students, teachers, and schools this is a better, more fair and equitable funding formula than any other previous proposal.”
A major difference between SB 1124 SFA 3 and SB 1 is how Chicago Public Schools (CPS) are treated. Both bills use the same system to establish the base funding minimum for schools, which ensures that no school would lose money. However, Democrats plan added hundreds of millions of dollars to the base funding minimum for CPS, money that no other school would have access to.
Governor Rauner has promised to veto SB 1, referring to the massive windfall for CPS as a “bailout.” Rauner made it clear however, that he would sign SB 1124 due to its more equitable and fair method for funding all schools.
SB 1124 represents bipartisan agreement on several other issues, using the same evidence-based model that relies on 27 different sets of data, along with nationally accepted best practices for school funding, to determine how to deliver dollars where they are needed most. In addition, the two bills use similar methods for determining certain criterial, including directing funding to low-income students and determining different costs between different parts of the state.
A comparison between how the two bills would fund schools in the 44th District is available here.
The full ISBE analysis for both bills is available at https://www.isbe.net/Pages/Education-Funding-Proposals.aspx.
“As we return to Springfield this week for Special Session, I hope that in addition to providing the people of Illinois with a full, balanced state budget, we will also take the time to consider this plan,” said Brady. “Properly, fairly and equitably funding our kids’ education is too important to neglect. We must make sure that students throughout Illinois have access to a quality education.”