Recent articles and editorials discussing Illinois school funding reform:

Statement on SB 1 Amendment

March 24, 2017

Today we are encouraged by the filing of Amendment 1 to SB1, a significant step toward providing equitable and adequate funding for low-income students in Illinois. The amendment reflects the equity principles we have long fought for: new dollars provided to the neediest districts; local resources taken into account; local adequacy targets based on individual student needs; and no districts lose money. It also reflects the framework developed by the Governor’s Commission on School Funding Reform.

We’re grateful to Sen. Andy Manar and Sen. Jason Barickman for their leadership on this bill and urge the Senate to quickly pass SB1, as amended, on a bipartisan basis.

We encourage the House to build on the momentum of HB2808, and the House Education Task Force, which is committed to passing legislation before May 31.

We call on both chambers to come together to pass a bill this spring and provide the revenue necessary to achieve equity.  Illinois remains worst-in-the-nation in providing resources for low-income school districts. For every dollar Illinois spends on a non-low-income student, it spends 81 cents on a low-income student.

Fix the Formula Illinois is a campaign of Advance Illinois, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, Equity First, Funding Illinois’ Future, High School District Organizations of Illinois, Illinois Association of School Administrators, Illinois Association of School Business Officials, Illinois Principals Association, Teach Plus Illinois and Vision 20/20.

Follow #fixtheformula on Twitter and visit www.fundingilfuture.org to receive updates about the campaign.

Fix the Formula Illinois

###

Contact: Bob Dolgan, 773-447-1980, and Anna Schneider, 217-242-9645

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

March 15, 2017

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.

Fix the Formula Illinois is a campaign of Advance Illinois, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, Equity First, Funding Illinois’ Future, High School District Organizations of Illinois, Illinois Association of School Administrators, Illinois Association of School Business Officials, Illinois Principals Association, Teach Plus Illinois and Vision 20/20.

Follow #fixtheformula on Twitter to receive updates about the campaign

Groups work toward reforming school funding

The Southern, March 12, 2017

Group is advocating for passage of three bills before the Illinois legislature. Two bills are basically identical and would reduce the TRS federal funds rate to the normal costs of teacher pensions. They SB 195 and HB 656. The other bill, SB 865, would require school report cards to include information on the total amount the district spends on teacher pensions.

Read more here: http://thesouthern.com/news/local/groups-work-toward-reforming-school-funding/article_91c783eb-5866-517b-9e7d-efe7ab5a3599.html

Schools using federal funds to offset state pension costs

“I get we have a pension backlog that has to be addressed, but it has to be addressed in an honest way,” Rep. Gordon-Booth says of the Illinois Teacher Retirement System’s $71.4 billion in unfunded liability. “The feds aren’t sending money to poor kids to underwrite suburban teachers’ pensions.”

Read more here: http://www.pjstar.com/news/20170307/schools-using-federal-funds-to-offset-state-pension-costs

Illinois is the only state that taps federal education funds intended for low-income and special needs students- all to pay off pension debt. Learn more here: TRS Fact Sheet

FIF Reaction to Governor’s Budget Proposal

February 17, 2017

While we were optimistic about the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission’s final report, the Governor’s proposed education budget falls short. The Governor should provide leadership towards a more equitable and adequate system. This proposal puts money in the same broken funding system, will not reduce inequity and makes little dent in the $3.5 billion adequacy gap that the Governor’s Commission acknowledged. We will continue to push for the Governor and General Assembly to implement the Commission’s recommendations and fix Illinois’ broken funding system.

Coalition Applauds Introduction of HB2808

February 9, 2017

The Funding Illinois’ Future coalition applauds Rep. Will Davis for his leadership in the introduction of HB2808, which aligns with the Illinois School Funding Commission’s Report. HB2808 makes school funding in Illinois more equitable and adequate and has the potential to end a decades-long problem. The bill aligns with equity principles in last week’s Illinois School Funding Reform Commission Report—and the principles of Funding Illinois’ Future—providing any new money to the neediest schools first and taking local contributions to school funding into account. We urge members of the House to co-sponsor the bill as a first step toward passing bipartisan, bicameral legislation this spring. Illinois must end the chronic underfunding of low-income schools and give all students the education they deserve in order to be ready for college and career.

Illinois needs a funding system that is equitable, adequate and fair. Illinois remains worst-in-the-nation in providing resources for low-income school districts. For every dollar Illinois spends on a non-low-income student, it spends 81 cents on a low-income student. Legislative action is needed now so that students in poverty access to resources so that districts may invest in reducing class sizes, providing updated textbooks and modern technology and offering advanced placement and other classes like art, foreign language and music that make up a well-rounded education. Funding Illinois’ Future remains steadfast in its view that new funding legislation must do the following

1. Recognize individual student need
2. Account for difference in local resources
3. Close funding gaps in five years and keep them closed
4. Provide a stable and sustainable solution

About Funding Illinois’ Future

Funding Illinois’ Future is a coalition of more than 200 school districts, school superintendents, community- and faith-based organizations working toward fixing Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation school funding formula with the goal of giving every student in Illinois the education they deserve. To learn more, and to sign up for our e-newsletter, visit www.fundingilfuture.org, or like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Federal funds meant for educating poor kids go to pay down state pension debt

Daily Herald, February 2, 2017

Stand for Children, an education advocacy nonprofit breaks down state pension debt and its affects on schools with high percentages of low-income kids. Elgin Area Unit District CEO, Tony Sanders, weighs in calling this practice “another example of Illinois’ inequitable and broke funding system.”

Read the full article here: http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20170202/news/170209809/

East Moline schools face drastic cuts and money troubles – calls for immediate state funding reforms

WQAD News 8, February 2, 2017

East Moline’s Superintendent, Kristin Humphries, shares how the funding system in Illinois is shortchanging East Moline schools by $1.2 million dollars this year. He calls it — a division problem between the “haves” and the “have nots.”

Watch the full story here: http://wqad.com/2017/02/02/east-moline-schools-call-for-immediate-state-funding-reforms/

 

Statement on School Funding Reform Commission Report

Coalition Urges Legislators to Enact School Funding Reform Immediately

February 1, 2017

The Funding Illinois’ Future coalition commends the hard work of the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission and its move to make the education funding system more equitable and adequate. We’re pleased that the Commission agrees that any new money will be provided to the neediest schools first, and that local contributions to school funding will be taken into account.  We urge legislators to introduce and swiftly pass bipartisan, bicameral legislation that ends the chronic underfunding of low-income schools and gives all students the education they deserve. Through its inaction, Illinois risks letting another generation pass through its schools without preparing its students for college and career.

Illinois needs a funding system that is equitable, adequate and fair. Illinois remains worst-in-the-nation in providing resources for low-income school districts. For every dollar Illinois spends on a non-low-income student, it spends 81 cents on a low-income student. Legislative action is needed now so that schools can reduce class sizes, provide updated textbooks and offer more classes in art, foreign language and music next school year.

Download the Commission report

About Funding Illinois’ Future
Funding Illinois’ Future is a coalition of more than 200 school districts, school superintendents, community- and faith-based organizations working toward fixing Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation school funding formula with the goal of giving every student in Illinois the education they deserve. To learn more, and to sign up for our e-newsletter, visit www.fundingilfuture.org, or like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.