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Legislation Introduced to Provide Adequate, Equitable Funding for Education

4/02/2014
Last spring, the Illinois State Senate created the Education Funding Advisory Committee (EFAC), a panel tasked with conducting a comprehensive review of the current K-12 education funding system in Illinois and making recommendations for a more fair and adequate funding distribution method by February 1, 2014.
 
The IFT supported the effort (SJR32) to create this committee to explore school funding fairness.
 
You can find EFAC’s findings on the Illinois State Board of Education website.
 
EFAC’s recommendations have resulted in legislation introduced today – the School Funding Reform Act of 2014 (SB 16) – sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar. This proposal would streamline the current formula funding structure into a single formula that would account for school district variables and most importantly, students’ needs.
 
The Illinois Federation of Teachers is encouraged by this effort to address an outdated and convoluted system and work toward more adequate, equitable funding for education. We look forward to discussing it further and will keep you posted as the legislation progresses.
 
In the meantime, here are some of the bill’s highlights:        
  • SB 16 changes the distributions of funding to school districts using a weighting system that is based on the specific characteristics of each district.
  • SB 16 recommends PTELL be appropriated separately as a supplemental grant.
  • SB 16 eliminates the Chicago Block Grant and funds Chicago schools under the new weighted system.
  • SB 16 states that for CPS, Available Local Resources excludes any amounts actually paid into the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund.
  • SB 16 proposes phasing in funding increases and decreases over a 4-year period, based on FY 14 “Hold Harmless” funding levels.

Specific “add-ons” are for districts that possess the following characteristics:
  • English Language Learners
  • Low-income
  • Low-income Concentration
  • Gifted
  • Successful High School Outcomes
  • Regular Special Education
  • Transportation

 

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