Nybo: Compromise school funding bill allows State to look at funding through a more fair lens
Illinois schools would start off the new academic year with more funding than years past under a recent compromise school funding proposal introduced by Senate Republican lawmakers that the Illinois School Board of Education (ISBE) indicates would provide all 852 school districts with more funding and a more equitable distribution system than any previous proposal. State Sen. Chris Nybo (R-Elmhurst) has stood up in support of the legislation to help resolve the current unequal, inequitable school funding distribution system that has overlooked the needs of various school districts throughout Illinois.
“Illinois is not any one city; it is made up of over 800 school districts that are asking for state funding—and asking for it to not be taken away,” said Nybo. “Senate Bill 1124 allows the state to look at funding through a more fair lens by evaluating each school district’s financial need and determining its equitable funding. This legislation is a true bipartisan compromise that incorporates key priorities for both represented parties and chambers, and provides our schools with the opportunity to open their doors with more money to fund the resources they need.”
The legislation is more equitable than any other proposal, and according to the data provided from ISBE (highlighted in the table below), Senate Bill 1124 Amendment 3 would do a better job of delivering financial help to low-income students than previous legislation advanced by the General Assembly, including Senate Bill 1. In fact, though proponents of SB1 have touted financial increases for schools through tier funding, the ISBE analysis clearly shows every single school district in the 24th District and the entire state would receive more tier funding under Senate Bill 1124 as amended.
A major difference between Senate Bill 1124 SFA3 and Senate Bill 1 is how Chicago Public Schools (CPS) are treated. Both bills use the same system to establish the base funding minimum for schools, which ensures that no school would lose money. However, Democrats added hundreds of millions of dollars to the base funding minimum for CPS, money that no other school would have access to.
Governor Rauner has promised to veto SB1, referring to the massive windfall for CPS as a “bailout.” Rauner made it clear however, that he would sign SB1124 due to its more equitable and fair method for funding all schools.
“Our current school funding system and the Senate Democrats’ Senate Bill 1 have a major discrepancy: a large lack of equitability,” said Nybo. “Like Senate Bill 1, the Senate Republican school funding proposal would also convert Illinois’ system to the evidence based model—a national best practice—but through some important changes, would more fairly address equitability in school funding. Schools re-open in just two months, so I urge my colleagues to put all partisan politics aside and carefully review Senate Bill 1124, and help pass a good-faith and fair school funding bill.”
SB1124 represents bipartisan agreement on several other issues, using the same evidence-based model that relies on 27 different sets of data, along with nationally accepted best practices for school funding, to determine how to deliver dollars where they are needed most. In addition, the two bills use similar methods for determining certain criterial, including directing funding to low-income students and determining different costs between different parts of the state.
The full ISBE analysis for both bills is available at https://www.isbe.net/Pages/Education-Funding-Proposals.aspx.
Nybo said he remains hopeful that the Senate will urgently take up SB1124 during the special session, which began on June 21.