- Published: Wednesday, May 15, 2013 01:09 PM
SPRINGFIELD – 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.
“By every measure, our current system for funding public education in Illinois is failing our students,” said Robin Steans of Advance Illinois. “We are beyond overdue for a thorough reform of the system, and we applaud Senator Manar for his leadership on this issue.”
“Public education funding in Illinois is desperately in need of reform, and we’re glad Senator Manar has stepped up to tackle the issue,” said Illinois Education Association President Cinda Klickna. “If we don’t find a better, more equitable way to fund our schools, we are leaving an entire generation of Illinois students behind.”
“Illinois is a very different place in 2013 than in 1998, and our school funding formula should be updated to reflect these changes,” said Manar. “With a comprehensive review, we can bring our public education funding system up to date to better serve all Illinois students, no matter their school district.”
Manar began his push for education funding reform after hearing from concerned parents and educators from across the 48th District. He launched an online petition as a platform for these concerned citizens to collectively voice their support for education funding reform in Illinois. To date, nearly 1,200 supporters have signed Manar’s petition at www.SenatorAndyManar.com/FundingReform.
Since 2009, K-12 education funding in Illinois has been slashed by $861 million. In the current fiscal year, the state only allocated 89 percent of the funds needed to meet the minimum required foundation level. What payments the state does make are unpredictable and often months late in coming, with the current backlog of bills owed to school districts exceeding $630 million.
The measure now advances to the Illinois House of Representatives for further consideration.