A bipartisan agreement to fix the state’s broken school funding formula is now on its way to the Governor, after the Illinois Senate passed Senate Bill 1947.
According to State Sen. Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria), the new plan, like all good compromises, has elements that both sides like and dislike.
“This bill offers substantial reforms that will help put our schools and our students on a better path,” said Sen. Weaver. “This legislation shows what is possible when all sides work together toward the shared goal of helping children.”
Senate Bill 1947 replaces the state’s outdated school funding formula with a new evidence-based model (EBM) that utilizes data and widely accepted best practices to determine how to send funding where it is needed. The EBM relies on 27 data sets to determine the actual costs for each school district to provide an adequate education for each student, which is referred to as an adequacy target. Funding is then prioritized to the schools that are the furthest from their adequacy target.
“This system takes into account the real costs and issues that our districts face and then distributes money based on data instead of arbitrary political calculations,” said Sen. Weaver. "It is important to note that no school gets less funding."
The legislation also includes significant relief from unfunded mandates so schools can reduce costs, as well as a system to help reduce the burden of skyrocketing property taxes on families. In addition, the bill provides a scholarship program that will offer school choice for low-income students.
“This bill represents the best compromise possible to help our children receive the best education possible,” said Sen. Weaver. “I look forward to this bill being signed into law immediately, so our schools and their students can focus on education instead of worrying about how to keep their doors open.”
Senate Bill 1947 is now headed to Gov. Bruce Rauner who is expected to sign it into law.