Recent articles and editorials discussing Illinois school funding reform:

Statement on next steps toward school funding reform

We remain closer to funding reform than ever. No district loses under SB1 and HB2808. Rural, suburban and urban districts need an equitable formula, and under these bills Chicago is treated like other districts.

We continue to urge bicameral, bipartisan support on bills that improve equity, recognize individual student needs, account for local ability to pay, and close gaps between low-income and wealthier students and keep them closed.

Now is the time to pass these bills.

Fix the Formula Illinois

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Statement on Senate passage of SB1 and House Committee approval of Amendment 1 to HB2808

Statement on Senate passage of SB1 and House Committee approval of Amendment 1 to HB2808

Today’s actions in the Senate and House confirm momentum is building toward fixing our state’s long-broken school funding system this legislative session. The passage today of SB1 is a victory for low-income students across the state and a monumental step forward to a more equitable school funding system in Illinois. HB2808 passed out of committee with bipartisan support, another sign that the state is coalescing around a single funding solution.

Both bills adopt the equity principles we’ve long advocated for: to recognize individual student needs, account for local ability to pay, and close gaps between low-income and wealthier students and keep them closed. Under these bills, no school district loses money, class sizes become smaller for low-income students and transparency of schools is increased. Both bills reflect many of the recommendations of the Governor’s School Funding Reform Commission.

We have never been this close. Now is the time to pass legislation that will ensure every student in Illinois has adequate and fair resources, no matter their zip code. We ask the Senate and House to continue to collaborate and find a bipartisan, bicameral agreement before May 31. Illinois students need a funding fix that will be implemented next school year.

Fix the Formula Illinois

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Statement on the Evidence Based Model (As proposed by SB1 SA3 and SB1124 SA1)

Statement on the Evidence Based Model (As proposed by SB1 SA3 and SB1124 SA1)

May 5, 2017

We applaud Senate Republicans and Democrats for their leadership in pushing forward new school funding reform legislation and are encouraged by the support of the Evidence-Based Model to adequately and equitably fund Illinois’ public schools. Today’s Subject Matter Hearing demonstrates the Senate’s commitment to pass a solution to finally replace our broken school funding system. As members of the Fix the Formula campaign shared in today’s hearing, both bills have their own merit, but there are also ways to increase equity within each to better serve all students across the state. 

 

Illinois must provide adequate and equitable funding for its neediest students while guaranteeing that no district loses money. We stand by our equity principles and will support legislation that recognizes individual student needs, takes into account local ability to pay and closes funding gaps between low-income students and their wealthier peers.  

 

We’re heartened by today’s hearing, as well as by the bipartisan efforts in the House to pass funding reform this year. As we’ve heard in dozens of house meetings and town halls across the state in recent weeks, we cannot let zip codes determine a student’s quality of education. We look forward to passing bipartisan, bicameral legislation that gives all students, across all communities in Illinois, the high-quality education they deserve. 

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Response to Pass Illinois’ Budget Campaign

We are heartened by the work of more than 390 Illinois superintendents in their grassroots statewide initiative to “Pass Illinois’ Budget.” These superintendents represent 1.3 million students across the state—in other words, 65% of all public school students in Illinois from Carbondale to Rockford. We stand behind their goals to immediately pass a state budget, to fix the school funding formula, and to pay school districts what they are owed. We continue to urge the General Assembly to adopt an adequate and equitable funding system this spring. The passing of a state budget along with an adequate and fair funding model is our best opportunity in giving all Illinois students the quality education they deserve.

Superintendents push for more equitable school funding formula in Illinois

WPSD, April 19, 2017

Today in a classroom at Crab Orchard High School,  local superintendents and teachers conducted a town hall meeting to give the public a close look at this proposed new funding method for schools; a method which proponents say will close the often huge gap between wealthy school districts and poor one.

Read more here: http://www.wpsdlocal6.com/story/35193503/superintendents-push-for-more-equitable-school-funding-formula-in-illinois

PRESS RELEASE: Statewide series of town halls to address school funding reform

Educators, families and legislators to discuss impacts of inequitable funding

CHICAGO (April 17, 2017) – Education stakeholders are coming together for regional town hall conversations across the state this week as momentum builds toward passing school funding reform legislation this spring. Superintendents, teachers and families are saying their students cannot wait any longer for a fix to Illinois’ funding system—the most unfair funding system in the nation according to The Education Trust. The town halls will include remarks from superintendents, legislators and policy experts and an opportunity for audience Q&A.

Currently, Illinois’ funding formula is inequitable, spending just 81 cents on a low-income student for every dollar it spends on a non-low-income student. One proposed funding bill, HB2808, fixes Illinois’ 20-year-old funding system and provides a fair solution for all students. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Will Davis, passed the House Appropriations Committee in early April with bipartisan support. It presents an evidence-based funding model that ensures no school district loses money, neediest districts receive new funding first, takes local resources into account, and closes funding gaps between low-income and wealthier districts and keeps them closed over time.

Find the statewide schedule of Town Hall events here: http://www.advanceillinois.org/2017/04/18/press-release-statewide-series-town-halls-address-school-funding-reform/ 
About Fix the Formula Illinois

Fix the Formula Illinois is a campaign of Advance Illinois, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, Educators 4 Excellence, 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, League of United Latin American Citizens, Teach Plus Illinois and Vision 20/20.
Follow #fixtheformula on Twitter or visit www.fundingilfuture.org to receive updates about the campaign.

Statement on Senator Barickman’s New School Funding Legislation

April 13, 2017

We commend Senator Barickman for his continuing commitment to fix Illinois inequitable school funding system—one that has shortchanged low-income students for the past 20 years. The April 13 announcement of Senator Barickman’s new evidence based school funding legislation is a step toward finding a bipartisan, bicameral solution this spring session. We look forward to reviewing the bill and are hopeful that it is consistent with our core equity principles as well as the framework outlined by the Governor’s School Funding Reform Commission.

Press Release: Passage of HB2808 out of House committee is a victory for low-income students

April 3, 2017

The bipartisan passage of HB2808 out of the House Elementary and Secondary Education Appropriations Committee yesterday was a monumental victory for low-income children across Illinois. The Committee voted 15-1 to pass the bill, which would reform the state’s broken school funding formula, closing gaps with wealthier districts.

Read full release here: http://www.advanceillinois.org/2017/04/18/passage-hb2808-house-committee-victory-low-income-students/ 

Statement on HB2808 Passing Out of Committee

March 30, 2017

The bipartisan passage of HB2808 out of committee is a significant victory for low-income students across Illinois and another step toward reforming Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation school funding formula. HB2808 would drive dollars to needy districts all across the state while accounting for their local ability to pay. HB2808 provides a sound, evidence-based approach for achieving adequacy and equity and forms the basis for a bipartisan bill to be sent to the Governor’s desk later this spring. We will continue to rally around a solution that holds districts harmless, provides new dollars to the neediest districts first, accounts for local ability to pay and closes gaps between low-income students and their wealthier peers.

We thank Rep. Will Davis and co-sponsors Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia and Rep. Robert Pritchard for their leadership on HB2808. We remain encouraged by the conversations led by the bipartisan House Education Task Force. In the Senate, SB1 is momentum toward an equitable formula as well. For too long, Illinois students have struggled due to inadequate and inequitable funding. We cannot wait another year for change and call on the General Assembly to swiftly pass school funding reform.

Fix the Formula Illinois is a campaign of Advance Illinois, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, Educators 4 Excellence, 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, League of United Latin American Citizens, Teach Plus Illinois and Vision 20/20.

Fix the Formula Illinois

 

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.