SPRINGFIELD, IL – State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) said the Senate began debating budget legislation May 29, with the Senate majority advancing legislation that does nothing to address the education funding inequities in Illinois.
The sponsor of the legislation, Senate Bill 2555, acknowledged that inequity in school funding still exists with this budget, but pushed members of the Senate to support it anyway.
Rezin voted against the measure, which reduces the effective Foundation Level by $233 per student from last fiscal year despite an overall spending increase of $155.4 million. The Senator explained Foundation Level Grants are considered a resource “equalizer” that take into account the property wealth of school districts and attempts to even out the funding available to schools. By moving away from Foundation Level Grants, the state budget directs disproportionate amounts of funding through other formulas that direct more state dollars to the Chicago Public School system.
“This year’s education budget does nothing to correct the funding disparities nor does it let the public know how the budget divides up the state aid formula throughout the state as it is required to,” Sen. Rezin said. “Though there was a bipartisan effort to create a task force to study these inequities, when the leadership in the state has the chance to really make a difference, they disappoint. It’s very frustrating to see these disparities continue for another year.”
In March, the Senate Republican Caucus unveiled a six-month long study on education funding in Illinois. It revealed that despite enrolling roughly 18 percent of the state’s public school children, Chicago Public Schools has received $772 million of additional funding each year through special considerations and grant lines.