Members of an Illinois Senate committee on school funding are saying – and hearing – some interesting things. “The state aid formula has sort of morphed into something that, at least, by the designers, it wasn't intended to do,” said State Sen. Dave Luechtefeld (R-Okawville). “Many times, I find that it can be political!”
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Justin Silverstein, who works for a school finance consulting firm said, “Looking at these issues is a big step, and you really should be thinking of re-writing your school finance formula every decade or so, so that it aligns to what you are asking your school districts to do.” Silverstein gave a preview of his firm’s presentation to senators. The Illinois State Board of Education hears it today in Bloomington.
Reviewing that presentation, the chairman of the committee, State Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), got right to the point, quoting the report: “We conclude that the Illinois school finance system is inequitable for both students and taxpayers." ISBE member Curt Bradshaw pointed out that depending on where a student lives, he or she is the beneficiary of anywhere from $6,000 to $25,000 in per-pupil spending, and that student's parent could pay between two and fifteen percent of their home's assessed valuation in taxes.