- Published: Thursday, August 15, 2013 01:45 PM
SPRINGFIELD – Illinois gets one step closer to comprehensive public education funding reform on Monday with the first official hearing of State Senator Andy Manar’s (D–Bunker Hill) Advisory Committee on Education Funding. The committee’s first hearing will take place at 2 p.m. Monday, August 19, 2013 in Room 212 in the Capitol building.
“Illinois ranks last in the nation for state contributions to K-12 education funding, providing only 32.5 percent of all funds spent on public education. We’re tired of seeing the damage caused by this system play out in drastic budget cuts in school districts across this state,” Manar said. “Not only does this go against the plain language of our state constitution, but more importantly, it does a disservice to our children. Our constitution and our conscience demand we do better, which is why I created this committee: to find a fairer, more equitable way to fund public schools.”
Manar led the effort in the spring legislative session to create the Senate Advisory Committee on Education Funding (SR0431). The committee is tasked with reviewing the current public education funding distribution system and submitting recommendations for improvement and increased equity to the full General Assembly by Feb. 1, 2014.
“The first step in solving any problem is studying and gathering input, and that’s exactly how we’ll approach addressing the gross inequities in Illinois’ education funding system,” Manar said. “It’s a big task, but we’re excited and ready to get to work so that soon, every child in Illinois, no matter where he or she lives, has access to a quality public education.”
The committee plans to hold a minimum of three additional hearings in locations across the state to gather input from teachers, administrators, parents and concerned citizens. A full schedule is forthcoming. Manar is joined on the committee by the following Senate members: Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D–Maywood), Sen. Melinda Bush (D–Grayslake), Sen. Michael Noland (D–Elgin), Sen. Dave Luechtefeld (R–Okawville), Sen. Jason Barickman (R–Bloomington), Sen. Karen McConnaughay (R–St. Charles), and Sen. Sue Rezin (R–Morris).