- Published: Thursday, April 16, 2015 09:18 AM
“This problem is clear. Illinois underfunds low-income, needy schools and we have the ability to end this outdated, unfair system. Everyone, everywhere benefits if children have access to the same opportunities to succeed,” State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said.
Natasha Ushomirsky a researcher with the Education Trust, a national research and advocacy organization, discussed these findings underscoring the need for education funding reform in Illinois.
“As Americans, we love to think of ourselves as living in the land of equal opportunity, a country where anyone willing to work hard can make it. But we have to look no further than our schools to know that today, the opportunities that our country provides are anything but equal,” Ushomirsky said in the opening of her report detailing funding inequality.
According to the Education trust report, published last month, Illinois has the largest gap between high and low poverty schools, with poorer schools receiving 19 percent fewer education dollars than wealthier schools
Manar is sponsoring a need-based school funding reform package, Senate Bill 1, that would assign state school funding to school districts based on the needs and attributes of their students.
It creates a unified funding formula that rewards additional funding to schools based on the high costs of educating students from high-poverty areas, students with special needs, rural transportation, vocational training, AP courses and bilingual students as well as a number of other factors.
The joint task force discussed how a reliance on local property taxes, poverty and other factors lead to unequal school funding from state to state.