Fully funding public schools while doing away with cuts, or so-called proration, will give districts across the state some predictability. That’s the message from state Senate Republicans Thursday in Springfield.
While both sides of the aisle in both chambers agree the current state funding formula for K-12 schools needs to change, one thing Republicans want to get rid of is proration — defined as dividing, distributing or assessing proportionately. In the case of school funding, however, proration is a misnomer, according to Sen. Chapin Rose.
“Only in this Orwellian newspeak world that comes out of Chicago can you take a word like proration and have people go ‘Oh, that must be OK.’ Well it’s not OK,” Rose said. “It’s a cut.”
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Republican Sen. Jason Barickman said the easiest fix to proration is to fully fund the formula, something Gov. Bruce Rauner has said needs to happen for the coming fiscal year.
Senate President John Cullerton said in a statement after the Republicans’ news conference that reforming the school funding formula is “a great place to start.”
However, the Republican senators went further to say the state needs to fully fund all schools.
Republican state Sen. Karen McConnaughay said districts downstate are being crushed by cuts through proration.
“We are losing entire economies in some of these smaller downstate districts that simply don’t have the resources to make up the difference when we prorate,” McConnaughay said.
McConnaughey and other Republicans also said property taxes, used by schools to make up any lack of state dollars, are much higher in the Chicago suburbs than in the city.
Republicans also said districts outside of Chicago shouldn’t have funding held hostage in an effort to increase state money for Chicago Public Schools.
Without addressing specifics raised by Republicans, Cullerton said he’s glad they’re talking about it.
“It’s great to hear the Senate Republicans supporting efforts to reform what’s become the worst school funding formula in the nation,” he said.