A message from Senator Andy Manar:

ManarEdRallyDear friends,

I hope you will join hundreds of fair funding supporters in Springfield this week to send an urgent message to Gov. Rauner and state lawmakers: that it’s time to enact school funding reform in Illinois.

A rally and a foot race – to help advocates run school funding reform across the finish line – will take place the afternoon of Wednesday, May 17, in front of the Lincoln Statue outside the Illinois State Capitol on Second Street.

We’re close to having enough votes to pass legislation that ensures fair and adequate school funding for schools throughout Illinois, regardless of their ZIP codes. But some of my colleagues in the General Assembly still need convincing.

That’s where you come in.

Show up at the Capitol to rally in support of fair funding for all schools. Invite your friends and neighbors to join you, and bring posters and signs to help convey your message to Gov. Rauner and state legislators.

When: 1-3 p.m., Wednesday, May 17
Where: Lincoln statue, east side of the Illinois Capitol, Second Street and Capitol Avenue

Let organizers know you plan to attend by following this link. The event is organized by Fix the Formula Illinois, a coalition that includes the following partners:

  • Advance Illinois
  • the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability
  • Educators for 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
  • Teach Plus Illinois
  • Vision 20/20

With just over two weeks left until the legislature adjourns May 31 and with schools throughout Illinois facing severe fiscal challenges because of funding disparities and the state budget stalemate, it is incumbent upon parents, students, educators, taxpayers, stakeholders and others to make their opinions known now.

If you can’t make it to the rally on the 17th, I urge you to contact your state lawmakers and Gov. Rauner directly to let them know where you stand on fair and adequate funding for all Illinois schools.

I plan to be there, and I hope to see you there, too.

Category: School Funding Reform

Manar03292017Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), chairman of one of the Illinois Senate’s two appropriations committees and the Senate’s point person on school funding reform, issued the following statement regarding a judge’s ruling today on a major school funding lawsuit in Illinois:

“Illinois school districts are in a state of emergency, and I’ve seen little evidence that the governor understands the magnitude of their crisis,” Manar said.

“Somehow, lawsuits, social media campaigns and thunderous rallies outside the doors of his office aren’t getting the message across to him. News reports about districts nearly missing payroll, cutting programs and laying off teachers apparently aren’t setting off alarms, either, because he’s done very little to move the ball forward on school funding reform.

“Superintendents and parents are sending a clear message to Springfield: their schools can’t survive much longer under the status quo. It’s up to Gov. Rauner to bring lawmakers together to get a balanced budget and to revamp the state’s school funding formula. Only then can we begin to ensure all students benefit from fair and adequate school funding in Illinois.”

Category: School Funding Reform

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

Working Families

 

eNewsletter Signup

eNewsletter Signup
  1. First Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  2. Last Name(*)
    Invalid Input
  3. Your Email(*)
    Please let us know your email address.

Contact Me

Springfield Office:
119A Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
Phone: (217) 782-0228
Fax: (217) 557-3930

Decatur Office:
Macon County Office Building
141 S. Main St., Suite 502
Decatur, IL 62523
Phone: (217) 429-8110
Fax: (217) 429-8018

Bunker Hill Office:
115 N. Washington, P.O. Box 636
Bunker Hill, IL 62014
Phone: (618) 585-4848