Manar04042017Senator Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and a leading advocate for reforming Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation school funding formula, issued the following statement today regarding a lawsuit filed against the state by 17 school districts seeking fair and adequate school funding:

“It should surprise no one that educators across Illinois are fed up with being shortchanged by Illinois’ broken school funding system. Right now, all they hear is lip service from the governor, who refuses to advance legislation to fix it.

“I wish them luck as they seek to force Gov. Rauner and the Illinois State Board of Education to implement, once and for all, a fair formula that offers every Illinois student the same high-quality educational opportunities, regardless of their ZIP codes.”

“After years of study and debate in Springfield about how best to fix Illinois’ broken school funding formula – producing stacks of reports and legislation but no actual change because of political and regional disagreements – desperate school districts in communities like Bunker Hill, Pana and Taylorville now see the courts as their only hope for fairness and relief.”

The lawsuit against the State of Illinois, Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Illinois State Board of Education is being filed in St. Clair County. The 17 school districts that are plaintiffs in the lawsuit comprise about 25,000 students, half of which qualify as low income. The districts are:

  • Bethalto CUSD #8
  • Bond County CUSD #2
  • Bunker Hill CUSD #8
  • Cahokia CUSD #187
  • Carlinville CUSD #1
  • Gillespie CUSD #7
  • Grant CCSD #110
  • Illinois Valley Central CUSD #321
  • Mount Olive CUSD #5
  • Mulberry Grove CUSD #1
  • Nokomis CUSD #22
  • Pana CUSD #8
  • Southwestern CUSD #9
  • Staunton CUSD #6
  • Taylorville CUSD #3
  • Vandalia CUSD #203
  • Wood River Hartford #15
Category: School Funding Reform

ManarPanaStudents350A school funding reform measure filed this week by Senator Andy Manar mirrors a plan pending in the Illinois House in an effort to spur lawmakers forward on a problem that has vexed the state for 20 years.

Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and a longtime advocate for overhauling Illinois’ system of funding K-12 public schools, is the chief sponsor of Senate Bill 1.

“No longer are we debating whether the school funding formula is broken. It’s a proven and widely known fact,” Manar said. “Yet, too many people sit on their hands in Springfield while students, parents and educators all over Illinois are forced to contend with the consequences every day.”

Senate Bill 1 would introduce an evidence-based model for funding Illinois schools, as proposed by the governor’s bipartisan school funding reform commission. It would replace the state’s current school funding formula, which is considered one of the worst in the nation because of its reliance on local property taxes and the inequities it creates among school districts.

How the evidence-based model generally works:

  • The state would determine an adequate amount of per-pupil funding for each school district based on the traits of each district.
  • The state would distribute funding using a base minimum funding level, ensuring no district would receive less state funding going forward than it receives currently.
  • Additional state dollars would be sent districts using a tiered system based on how well a district is funded in terms of meeting its adequacy target.

Senate Bill 1 also calls for establishing a panel of stakeholders and legislators to periodically review the evidence-based model and offer recommendations to the State Board of Education, the General Assembly and the governor.

“This proposal allows us to begin the school funding debate anew in the Legislature with an eye on the larger picture of long-term investment in our schools and economic prosperity for all of Illinois,” Manar said.

“The sooner we start to fairly fund public education in Illinois, the sooner we can expect to see results: shrinking achievement gaps, higher graduation numbers, strong economic growth and generations of young people who are prepared to meet the challenges of college and the workforce.”

Category: School Funding Reform

Senator Andy Manar encouraged Republican senators and Gov. Bruce Rauner to rethink their approach to negotiation after bipartisan talks about details of the Senate's widely anticipated budget deal, the so-called "grand bargain," fell apart unexpectedly March 1 just before several key votes on the package, which included school funding reform, were to take place.

Manar and other Democratic senators, including Don Harmon of Oak Park and Heather Steans of Chicago, appeared at a news conference at the Capitol to explain what happened and express their frustration with Republicans' approach to the negotiations. Manar likened it to a constant merry-go-round of chasing the same issues over and over again.

 

Category: School Funding Reform

SchoolChildrenBUNKER HILL – Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) issued the following statement today in response to news that Gov. Bruce Rauner has appointed former comptroller Leslie Munger to a newly created deputy governor position in his administration at a salary of $135,000:

“Rather than recite all of the obvious reasons why it’s wrong for our wealthy governor to clout his wealthy friend into a state government job at a lucrative salary when we have no budget after she lost her bid for election in November, I’ll simply note some of the many ways a rural downstate public school could put $135,000 to use,” Manar said.

How could an underfunded downstate Illinois school use $135,000?

  • 3 additional teachers at a salary of $45,000 per year
  • 5 additional teacher aides at a salary of $25,000 per year
  • 34 copy machines
  • 270 iPads for students to use in the classroom
  • 450 laptop computers
  • 1,350 $100 high school chemistry or algebra text books to replace the out-of-date ones
  • 1,800 scientific calculators
  • 4,500 heavy-duty pencil sharpeners to replace the ones that wear out from student use
  • 13,500 elementary grade-level paperback books to stock the library, every classroom and to send home with children.
  • 19,000 reams of copy paper
Category: School Funding Reform

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