March 15, 2017

Education advocacy organizations announce new campaign in effort to fix school funding formula

For too long, Illinois has ranked as worst-in-the-nation in providing resources for low-income school districts. In the weeks ahead, we’ll be launching a collaborative, public effort to build momentum across communities in Illinois. We are coming together under the mantle of “Fix the Formula Illinois” to reform the state’s inadequate and inequitable funding system during this session of the General Assembly.

Our goal is to ensure that each chamber and each party in the General Assembly, as well as the Governor, keep meaningful education funding reform at the top of their agenda. Illinois state government has the responsibility to provide an adequate and equitable education to every child who attends public school in every community across Illinois. We cannot let another year pass as many of our school districts—and students—struggle due to inadequate and inequitable funding. We believe that a collective effort toward fixing the formula and providing additional funding for education offers the best opportunity to address this long-standing challenge, and finally provide schools and students in Illinois the resources necessary to provide the high-quality education they deserve.

We are pleased that Rep. Will Davis introduced HB2808, which is an evidence-based funding model for achieving adequacy and equity. This provides a strong basis for a new funding formula and a starting point for further discussion. We thank additional chief co-sponsors Rep. Robert Pritchard and Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia for their support of the bill.  We are hopeful that the House Education Task Force, established by Speaker Michael Madigan, will build on the recommendations of the Governor’s School Funding Reform Commission.  We will continue to rally around principles derived from an evidence-based approach, such as a solid hold harmless and an adequacy target for each district based on research that supports best practice. These are the foundational principles that will lead to equity and adequacy, whether in HB2808, another House bill, or as part of a Senate bill that emerges from the Grand Bargain or stands on its own.

We are heartened by the work of our organizational members, legislative leaders, legislators, and school funding reform commission members. Now is the time to take action and fix the formula this year.

[updated] Fix the Formula Illinois is a campaign of Advance Illinois, Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, Educators 4 Excellence, Equity First, Faith Coalition for the Common Good, Funding Illinois’ Future, Gamaliel of Illinois, Gamaliel of Metro Chicago, High School District Organizations of Illinois, Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education, Illinois Association of School Administrators, Illinois Association of School Business Officials, Illinois for Educational Equity, Illinois Parent Teacher Association, Illinois Principals Association, Instituto del Progreso Latino, Latino Policy Forum, League of United Latin American Citizens, Noble Network, Ounce of Prevention Fund, Pilsen Neighbors Community Council, Quad County Urban League, South Suburban Action Conference, Springfield Urban League, Taylorville Citizens for Education, Teach Plus Illinois, Tri-County Urban League, United Congregations of the Metro East, Urban Muslim Minority Alliance and Vision 20/20.

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