“It is Time for a Statewide Solution to Our Broken School Funding System.”
Statewide Education Coalition Applauds Illinois Senate on Passage of Better Funding for Better Schools Act, Urges Illinois House to Do the Same
SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS – The Illinois Senate today passed critical education funding reform that would direct more dollars to support low-income students and help address a grossly unfair funding gap that exists between wealthy and poor school districts throughout the state. The Better Funding for Better Schools Act (SB 231), sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar (48th District), now moves on to the Illinois House.

“It is time for a statewide solution to our broken school funding system. We can’t ask another generation of Illinois students to wait for the great education they deserve,” said David Lett, Superintendent of Pana School District 8 and a member of the FIF coalition. “I’d like to thank the Illinois Senate for sending a message that every child in Illinois matters, regardless of their financial situation, and now we need the Illinois House to send that same message as well.”

This new approach to education funding in Illinois will reflect some key principles that will create a fair funding system for every child in Illinois:

  • Gets resources to districts based on the needs of their students by driving more state dollars to districts that need support the most. We know from research that children who live in poverty, have special learning needs or who are just learning the English language, need extra support. It’s a common-sense approach to providing education dollars.
  • Uses a single, straightforward model. Special deals are over. This will be a welcome relief for districts who confront one bureaucratic hurdle after another just to get the state funds they’re already due.
  • Consistently takes into account a school district’s ability to support local schools with local funds.
  • Funds all districts the same way, which includes pension parity for Chicago, the only school district in Illinois that does not receive state support of pensions.

“We call on the Illinois House and the Governor do the right thing and bring equity to public education funding in Illinois so that every child has access to a better education and a chance at success in college, career, and life,” said Ginger Ostro, Executive Director of Advance Illinois and a member of the FIF coalition. “We are excited about the opportunity to finally make this right for every student who calls Illinois home.”

Illinois has the most unfair school funding system of any state in the entire nation. Research shows that students living in poverty need additional resources in order to succeed. But, instead of giving them those resources, the state shortchanges students with the most need. This has created a system where wealthy districts in Illinois can spend as much as $30,000 per student, while the poorest barely spends $6,000. These inequities are holding generations of children back from realizing their full potential.

“Let’s get this bill to the Governor’s desk during the current legislative session,” said Tony Sanders, CEO of School District U-46 in Elgin and a member of the FIF coalition. “There is momentum around this bill all across the state, and it is time to fix our education funding system once and for all. We owe it to the students across Illinois to get this done now.”

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