- Published: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 05:19 PM
SPRINGFIELD – Schools throughout the 48th District would see an increase in state funding under a proposal being pushed by State Senator Andy Manar (D–Bunker Hill) that will drastically change how Illinois funds public schools.
A report released Wednesday by the State Board of Education details the estimated impact of Manar’s proposal on the state’s 860 school districts. Manar said the numbers show his plan will provide greater equity between rich and poor districts. It does this by shifting state resources away from property-rich, wealthier districts that can adequately provide for themselves to areas of the state with higher tax rates and greater need.
“We have school districts in the state that even if they wanted to, couldn’t tax themselves high enough to achieve equity,” Manar told a Senate committee on Wednesday. "We have districts in the state that could not raise their property taxes enough to bring about equitable funding on their own. So, this isn't about punishing or rewarding. This is about accounting for that disparity."
Over the past year, Manar has been developing a new school funding formula that will change the way the state distributes $6.7 billion in aid to education. Currently, only 45 percent of state education dollars are distributed to districts based on need. That number would jump to 90 percent under Manar’s proposed formula.
“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,” Manar said. “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.”
The revised formula also attempts to treat state funding for Chicago's massive school system the same as it does for downstate districts.
The Board of Education figures show increases in state funding for the following districts:
|School District||Increase in Funding (Dollars)||
|Bunker Hill Community School Dist.||$430,000||
|Carlinville Community School Dist.||$513,000||
|Gillespie Community School Dist.||$2.8 million||
|Hillsboro Community School Dist.||$950,000||
|Litchfield Community School Dist.||$1.1 million||
|Morrisonville Community School Dist.||$255,000||
|Mount Olive Community School Dist.||$215,000||
|Nokomis Community School Dist.||$390,000||
|North Mac Community School Dist.||$1.2 million||
|Pana Community School Dist.||$1.7 million||30%|
|Panhandle Community School Dist.||$260,000||18%|
|Southwestern Community School Dist.||$650,000||10%|
|Staunton Community School Dist.||$207,000||5%|
|Taylorville Community School Dist.||$1 million||13%|
The legislation, Senate Bill 16, was approved by the Senate Executive Committee last Wednesday and now moves to the full Senate for consideration. Republicans on the committee either voted against the bill or voted “present.”