Illinois lawmakers tasked with changing how the state pays for schools are trying to do something no one in Springfield has been able to accomplish before — move Illinois schools away from dependence on property taxes.

Most of the money for Illinois' schools comes from local property taxes.That means there's a huge difference between schools in different communities.

Illinois' education funding commission is holding the first of two hearings on switching from the property tax this week.

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State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Normal, said Illinois can do it, if lawmakers make the right policy choices.

"Allowing school districts the flexibility that they have long asked for (would) allow them to do more with less," Barickman said.

Illinois has struggled for years to cut the link between local property taxes and school funding.

Democratic state Sen Kim Lightford, D-Westchester, said she thinks it's possible this year because almost everyone agrees Illinois' school funding system is broken.

"The formula has a huge disparity," Lightford said. "It's not putting funds in the place where they're needed the most."

Illinois pays the highest property taxes, on average, in the country. Often twice what homeowners in other states pay.

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