Funding Bill Would Help Downstate Illinois Schools

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By Kerry Lester, Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, IL (AP) - Newly released figures by school district are fueling debate about a proposed overhaul of the complicated education funding formula that Illinois has used for almost two decades.

A database released Wednesday by the state Board of Education shows that downstate school districts would gain at the expense of wealthy, suburban ones under a revised formula the Legislature is considering.

Schools in the suburbs of Evanston and Skokie would see an 85 percent decrease in state aid under the plan. But Pekin schools in central Illinois would see a 30 percent increase in funds.

 

A full list of school districts, including those in southern Illinois, can be found at the ISBE database. The districts can be sorted by state senator or state representative.

 

Reform advocates say the numbers show the proposal would provide more equity between rich and poor districts across Illinois by considering poverty levels. Opponents say the changes would be unfair to the suburbs of Chicago and St. Louis.

Downstate school superintendents are expected to lobby for the proposal in Springfield Thursday. But its chances of passage in the Legislature this spring are limited, especially given the politics of an election year.

The measure is SB16.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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