School FundingThat is the year our current education funding system was established. The original intent of the system was to support the state’s neediest school districts. But over the years, the system has become a cluttered mess of formulas and grants.


Compounding the issue is the simple reality that Illinois has changed over the past 17 years. Changes in our economy, poverty rates and property values should all be accounted for in our formula, but unfortunately, they aren’t. This has led to vast inequality between wealthy and poorer school districts.

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School District Disparity

I don’t believe where you live should determine how much is invested in your child’s education. Inequality is leaving too many students in poorer urban and rural communities behind.


Manar Committee HearingLast year, I introduced legislation in the Illinois Senate creating an Education Funding Advisory Committee (EFAC) to study the way schools are funded – or, more accurately, underfunded – and make recommendations for fixing the system so schools across the state get their fair share.


On January 31, after months of discussion, which included eight hearings across the state, nearly 48 hours of expert testimony and input from stakeholders, the Senate Education Funding Advisory Committee released its recommendations to improve how Illinois distributes funds for public education.


EFAC Report in the News

Jim Edgar: Time is ripe for education funding reform in Illinois
Equity is goal of committee looking to revamp state public school aid
Close spending gap on school funding
Calls Grow for School Funding Overhaul


The report recommends streamlining the state’s school funding formula to provide greater equity among districts. That would mean combining the state’s current funding sources, which each have their own rules, regulations and paperwork, into one funding formula that would account for school districts’ funding needs.

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Streamlined Funding System

And while virtually everyone agrees on the need for reform, there are differing opinions on exactly which reforms should be implemented. As is usually the case in Springfield, the devil is in the details.


Currently, we are drafting legislation grounded in the EFAC report, and I hope to have a draft ready to share with you in just a few weeks. Meanwhile, I’m working to build the consensus necessary to make a change.

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Press Briefing

Reforming how we fund public education in Illinois won’t be easy—reforming massive, entrenched bureaucratic systems in state government never is. But the stakes are too high for us to continue any further with our current broken system. The children of this state—each one, no matter where he or she lives—deserve better.


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