There’s agreement that the current funding formula for the state providing tax dollars to primary education isn’t working but there’s disagreement on the fix.
Bunker Hill Democratic Senator Andy Manar says the current funding formula, which takes poverty levels into account but does not address disparities in local property taxes, needs to change and he’s pushing lawmakers to take up Senate Bill 1, which was introduced last January.
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Governor Bruce Rauner agrees the current formula is inadequate. In a statement Rauner’s office says "after signing the k-12 education bill, which allocates the most general state aid to schools in Illinois history, Governor Rauner reiterated his belief that the current school funding formula is not effective.”
However, the administration says it has not seen Manor's bill, and “is not in a position to comment on it at this time."
Wheaton Republican Representative Jeanne Ives also agrees the current funding formula is not effective, but is critical of Manar’s measure, saying she’s concerned it would divert money away from her district, which in turn could put more reliance on increased property taxes.
“Well my property tax owners are saying ‘no’,” Ives said. “Absolutely not. You can’t do this.”
Ives says every district should be treated the same when it comes to categorical amounts and grants, savings need to be found in pension reform, and the state needs to up the percentage it gives all districts--all of which Ives says will be difficult to achieve.
Supporters of Manar’s bill have said fewer than 44 cents of every dollar is distributed based on need under the current formula and the reform would distribute about 92 cents of each dollar based on district need.