Manar05172017Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), a widely respected advocate for fair school funding in Illinois, issued the following statement regarding criticism leveled by the Rauner administration today immediately following the Senate’s passage of Senate Bill 1, a school funding reform measure sponsored by Manar:

“The Rauner administration and Republicans want to behave like this is a vexing new problem that Illinois has never tried to tackle before. The truth is this is a more than 20-year-old problem that we have studied to death, repeatedly debated and willfully ignored.

“In Gov. Rauner’s perfect world, Illinois’ aging public schools would feature teachers that are paid less, support services that are outsourced and very little accountability to the communities they serve.

“That’s not the world we live in. We owe it to our students of today and our students of tomorrow to deal with Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation school funding formula now. Educators, parents, taxpayers, students and advocates are clamoring for change, and we would be remiss to not get this done before May 31. Gov. Rauner knows this, and so does his education secretary, Beth Purvis.

“Here’s the bottom line: The only opposition that exists to Senate Bill 1 is from Bruce Rauner and his enablers, who for some reason refuse to show independence from the governor when it comes time to do the right thing.

“Gov. Rauner and his team can put out all the statements they want claiming I abandoned the bipartisan process. I can sleep at night knowing I’ve never abandoned Illinois students or leveraged the state’s future for a political agenda.”

Category: School Funding Reform

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

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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
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Bunker Hill, IL 62014
Phone: (618) 585-4848