ManarSB1 400pxSPRINGFIELD – The statewide effort to transform Illinois school funding is continuing at the Capitol.

State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), Rep. Will Davis (D-Hazel Crest) and Rep. Christian Mitchell (D-Chicago) joined supporters to announce updates to last year’s need-based reform proposal and called for increased overall school funding during a press conference Tuesday.

Manar introduced the School Funding Reform Act of 2015 as an amendment to Senate Bill 1. It replaces Senate Bill 16 from last year and the previous General Assembly. The announcement follows the Illinois State Board of Education’s call for a 10.7 percent increase in school spending last month.

“There’s an obvious need to make school funding more fair and transparent, but there’s also an undeniable need to increase funding as a whole. These updates are grounded in the basic principle that we should give help where it is needed,” Manar said.

Davis introduced identical legislation in the House.

“Through it all, we listened to what has been said and heard the concerns. I look forward to continuing the dialogue and including the need for more revenue,” Davis said.

The proposal replaces the General State Aid formula and a web of complex, opaque grants with a single, need-based funding formula that improves accountability and transparency.

“This is the civil rights issue of our time. Equity in education funding is essential for leveling the playing field, so that talent and hard work, not zip code, determine a child’s chance to succeed. I’m happy to support the Governor’s call for $729 million of new education funds, but this bill is essential with or without the increase,” Mitchell said.

“The time to change Illinois' school funding formula to provide equity is now. It's time to send funds to kids based on their individual needs, not their zip codes,” said Tony Sanders, CEO of DuPage County’s U-46 school district.

SB 1 Briefing Document with headerThe updates to last year’s proposal include a method of comparing regional costs, a more accurate way of measuring poverty, improved reporting for bilingual education and sends additional funding to districts with higher-than-average rates of students with special education needs.

The new provisions also expedite a study to determine the base level of funding needed for student growth, and it protects districts from losses that are not spending adequately.

ISBE is in the process of projecting how these changes will affect individual school districts.

Click Here to view a document outlining the background and details of SB 1.

See below for a presentation with additional information on SB1.


Category: School Funding Reform

040214cm0126RSPRINGFIELD – One day after the start of classes for Springfield School District 186, local community leaders joined State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) at Feitshans Elementary School to urge the Illinois House to approve Senate Bill 16, Manar’s proposal to overhaul the state's outdated school funding system in the upcoming fall legislative session.  

The Faith Coalition for the Common Good is an organization whose purpose is to unite congregations with other faith-based and community organizations to identify common issues of concern in Central Illinois. One such issue is equity in school funding.

“The way Illinois funds public education is broken, but we have an opportunity to fix it. SB16 more adequately and equitably provides for the needs of students and educators. In short time the Illinois House has the opportunity to bring this state one step closer to a more equitable system” said Pastor T. Ray McJunkins, the coalition’s president.

Read more: Local community leaders call for passage of school funding reform proposal in upcoming fall session

Category: School Funding Reform

040214cm0130REarlier this year, I was part of a bipartisan State Senate committee that issued a report acknowledging Illinois’ outdated school funding system and recommended changes be made to the system to better reflect students’ needs.

On Wednesday, April 2, I joined my colleagues in introducing the School Funding Reform Act of 2014, a proposal to streamline the current hodgepodge of funding sources into one funding formula that will account for school districts’ funding needs.  

Click here to read an analysis of the proposal

Click here for an overview of the proposed funding formula.

funding-slide bbRThe current funding formula, unchanged since 1997, only distributes 44 cents for every $1 invested in education on the basis of district need. The other 56 cents is distributed to schools through archaic and complicated grants, not based on need.

Under the new funding system, 92 cents of every $1 invested by the State in the K-12 education system, with the exception of funds for early childhood education, construction projects and high-cost special education, would flow through a single funding formula that provides a simple, straight-forward and equitable means to distribute education funds for Illinois school districts.

Illinois has the second-most inequitable school funding system in the nation, and that funding system is doing a disservice to taxpayers, school districts and, most importantly, our children. The funding system we are proposing will better address student needs, such as socio-economic background, language ability or special learning needs, while also accounting for a school district’s ability to raise funds locally.

Click on the links below to read more about this proposal: 

Rockford River Times - Measure to overhaul Illinois school funding system introduced in state Senate

Hillsborough Journal-News (with our full graphic) - Manar Bill Changes School Funding Plan

Springfield ABC News - Education Funding Bill Introduced At Statehouse

Bloomington Pantograph - Lawmakers consider school funding changes

WBGZ Radio/Alton News - Change Proposed for Education Funding

The Kankakee Daily Journal Opinion - Jim Nowlan: How Illinois school funding has drifted

WNIJ - Lawmaker Pushes For Changes To Education Funding

Alton Telegraph - Manar seeks change through education overhaul

Peoria Journal-Star - Proposed education legislation designed to simplify, evenly distribute school funds

Herald & Review (Decatur) - Manar pitches school funding reform bill

WMAY News - Manar: Reworking School Funding Formula Helps Districts in Financial Crisis

Category: School Funding Reform

Manar SJR32rSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar’s (D – Bunker Hill) push to reform public education funding in Illinois gained the unopposed, bipartisan backing of the Illinois Senate on Tuesday. On a 53-0 vote, the Senate passed Manar’s plan to initiate the first comprehensive review of public education funding distribution methods since the current formulas were implemented in 1998.

“The way we fund public education in Illinois is currently very complex, but one piece of it is very simple: It isn’t working,” said Manar. “The disparity between school districts that have resources and those that don’t is only getting worse, meaning too many children are being denied an equal opportunity for a quality public education.”  

Backed by the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the Illinois Education Association as well as education reform organizations Stand for Children and Advance Illinois, SJR 32 creates an advisory committee to review the current funding-distribution methods for public education in Illinois and make recommendations for a more fair and adequate funding system by Feb. 1, 2014.

Read more: Manar's push for education funding reform advances

Category: School Funding Reform

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Springfield Office:
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Phone: (217) 782-0228

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