Democrats Propose New School Funding Formula

State Sen. Andy Manar plans to introduce a new school funding formula bill on the floor of the Illinois Senate on Wednesday.

“Tomorrow I will be filing new legislation that’s intended to erase and correct what is undoubtedly the worst and most regressive system of funding public education in the state,” Manar said Tuesday. “We’ve made some slight gains but we need to go deeper.

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"We need to commit to spending and prioritizing funds that are available in the state budget to high need, high poverty schools. That’s what every expert says we ought to do in Illinois. That’s something that we don’t do today."

The bill, if passed, would shift money from wealthier districts to poorer districts—with cuts to wealthier districts being phased in over four years.

“Everything in this bill is intended to take steps toward parity, toward a system that is statewide in nature that doesn’t treat different school districts in different ways utilizing $13 billion of state resources,” Manar said.

"Everything in this bill is intended to take steps toward parity," said State Sen. Andy Manar. "Everything in this bill is intended to take steps toward parity," said State Sen. Andy Manar.

"This would put CPS on par with every other district in Illinois," said Amanda Vinicky. "Chicago, however, would lose what's known as a block grant, basically a big chunk of cash that gets sent CPS's way that would be nullified and eliminated."

So what is the likelihood that this bill will fare any better than other earlier proposals aimed at reducing the funding gap between rich and poor?

"Republicans had a sort of immediate, distasteful reaction to it, Governor Bruce Rauner saying that Democrats had a dozen years to deal with this and now all of a sudden he questions why it's a crisis. That said, he too said he has issues with the current formula and wants changes," Vinicky said.

"Republicans immediately called this a bailout of CPS," she added.

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