Archives for Blog

FAQ on SB1947: What’s next

9/28/17 FAQ on SB1/SB1947 –  Though Illinois has a new, more equitable school funding formula, several questions have emerged about the mechanics and implications of this landmark legislation. Funding Illinois’ Future has compiled the following FAQ to answer questions we’ve received since the bill’s passage on Aug. 31. Additionally, Advance Illinois and the Illinois Association of School Administrators held a webinar on Sept. 26 to discuss the nuances of the new formula, and a recording of the webinar is available here.
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Can You Tell What My Zipcode Is?

“Can you tell what my zip code is?” –by Melisa Livingston, Citizens for Education, Taylorville IL That’s the first question JT Boehme asks in a recent video titled “Dear Politicians” featuring students from Taylorville telling the story of how Illinois’ inequitable school funding system directly impacts them. These students are dreamers, fighters, students and the next generation of people, asking their elected officials: Doesn’t that mean anything to you? Produced by JT Boehme, a junior at Taylorville High School, the video illustrates how one student in another school district receives a $34,411 education, while a student in Taylorville receives $7,474.
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Comparing Education Funding Proposals: Understanding Data on District Gains/Losses

Comparing Education Funding Proposals May 20, 2017 The Illinois State Board of Education recently released a model that shows the distribution of education funding under HB 2808, Amendment 1 (click “House Bill 2808 Davis” at the link). They have previously released a model of the funding proposal considered by the Governor’s Commission on School Funding Reform (click on “Evidence Based Funding Proposal” at the link).  There are no other current or official models released by the Illinois State Board of Education for any other bills this session. All districts in these models gain money.  There are also other models on
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Don’t forget about our Latino students

May 1, 2017 Now–more than ever–is the time to take action in fixing the state’s broken formula to fund education. Illinois legislators must change our outdated, inequitable funding system that gives neediest students the least support. My personal experience as an immigrant and English Learner drives my passion and advocacy to represent the voices of Latino parents. As a professional and EdTech consultant, I visit schools throughout the state and see the challenges educators face every day with limited resources and growing student needs. Logic tells us that where there are greater needs, there should be greater resources. However, with
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Funding leaves Beardstown lost in translation

March 29, 2017 Rural community lacks resources to serve growing African, Hispanic population By Bob Dolgan Communications Director Advance Illinois When junior high students move to Beardstown from places such as the Congo, they need basic “survival skills” as part of the adjustment to a new language and culture. “We talk about how to tell the nurse if you don’t feel well,” said teacher Rob Hymes, “what it means if you see a sign in the hallway, or how to know where to go in the school. It’s an intimidating time for them.” Absorbing complex topics in math and science
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Whose Moral Values?

A poem by Wynell Verrett-Butler, a Funding IL’s Future coalition member   Whose moral values put our youth in harm’s way? Whose moral values let them get gunned down then turn their heads and walk away?   Whose moral values allow illiteracy and starvation to prevail? And whose moral values let our education system fail?   Whose moral values said, “build the jails, they don’t need schools”? And whose moral values set our youth up for failure, then turn around and call them fools?   Whose moral values says no when it comes to our health? And whose moral values
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Coalition Chronicles: Wynell Verrett-Butler is leveling the playing field in South Suburbs 

March 13, 2017 Wynell Verrett-Butler, a great-grandmother and resident of Dixmoor, is a dynamic force in the fight for a fair education system in Illinois. Of the roughly 3,600 people who live in Dixmoor, a south suburb of Chicago, 86 percent of students are low-income, 23 percent are English learners and 15 percent have disabilities. In 1986, Butler became involved with the inception of what would later be an influential agency for improving social issues in the South Suburbs – the South Suburban Action Conference (SSAC). South Suburban Action Conference (SSAC), a coalition member of Funding Illinois’ Future since 2014, brings together grassroots
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Is pro-ration alive and well?

Delays in state payments of “mandated categoricals” are impacting finances of school districts in communities across the state, including in CUSD #9, which serves parts of Macoupin, Jersey and Greene counties.  January 10, 2017 By Brad Skertich Superintendent Southwestern CUSD #9 In June 2016, Illinois policy makers announced a compromise which would “fully fund” K-12 education and allow for a six-month stopgap budget for the state. Since that announcement the public has been led to believe school districts would receive 100% of their allotted state funding for the first time in seven years. Only in Illinois would this be considered news. The
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Forcing Illinois Into Action: Court to Soon Decide Whether ISBE Discriminates Based On Race

Update by Joshua J. Cauhorn, Associate at Burke, Warren, MacKay & Serritella’s Litigation practice group and author of The Search for the Magic Formula: History of Illinois School Funding Reform. Despite Illinois ranking dead last in the country in school funding equity, the majority of Illinois political leaders do not seem to feel the urgency in reforming America’s worst school funding system. Worse than ever, in 2015, Illinois spent 81 cents on average per low-income student for every $1 it spent on a non-low-income student. Recognizing this problem, over eight years ago, a number of grassroots organizations decided to jolt
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As Southwestern Schools Struggle to Help All Students Succeed, Cutting Costs is Anything But Simple

Schools in the Southwestern School District strive to provide the supports all students need to succeed, but must work with limited resources. By Brad Skertich Superintendent Southwestern CUSD #9 Recently, during a discussion on school funding reform, a legislator suggested that if a district’s enrollment declined by 30 students, the district would have less work and should therefore be able to cut a classroom.  On the surface, the consequences of changing enrollment may appear to be that simple – however, reducing expenses after a decline in enrollment is anything but simple. Let’s say a local company moved out of town and
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