Town hall meeting held to discuss education funding reform - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Town hall meeting held to discuss education funding reform

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WSIL -- Wednesday morning in Crab Orchard, superintendents and other education leaders met to talk about reforming the Illinois education funding formula.

They want to make sure students from smaller schools have an equal playing field, financially, and at least two of those leaders feel the time has come to "fix the formula."

Goreville Superintendent Steve Webb was just one educator involved in a town hall meeting Wednesday morning to discuss funding schools.

"We need to make sure that our legislators understand that a child is worth the same amount of money in a southern Illinois, rural, high poverty town, as they are in some wealthy school," he explains.

Many education leaders believe the current funding formula is upside down, spending more money on wealthy students and less on low-income students. That's why they say it's time to fix the formula, spending more on lower-income districts to help even the playing field.

They suggest using a new model, focusing on proof of specific needs for each district, something Regional Superintendent of Schools Matt Donkin hopes benefits students across the state.

"The idea is to get a formula that works, that addresses the inequalities across the state, gives people a level playing field no matter where they live," he said.

Education is an important part of a child's life, so these educators will continue to hold town hall meetings until the work is done and Springfield listens.

"To get the message out, that we know you have a fiscal mess in the state of Illinois, don't hold our kids hostage," Webb said.

In this new funding formula, no school district will lose money, and newer resources will go toward needier schools, but the educators admit that it will take more time and effort to get it just right.

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