State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Peru) is pushing for legislation that would send millions of additional dollars to schools in her district and throughout the state. Senate Bill 1124 is an evidence based school funding proposal, modeled after the framework of the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission that met last year and this year, of which Sen. Rezin was a member.
“Illinois’ school funding formula is broken and in need of change,” Rezin said. “Changing the formula legislatively has been a difficult task and proposals that have come forward over the past few years have picked winners and losers, and put districts against districts. I couldn’t support those proposals. This one is different and a breath of fresh air. Schools across the state either see the same amount of money or more with this proposal – depending on a number of factors. This legislation puts an emphasis on our students and our future and does it in a fair and balanced way.”
For example, based on Fiscal Year 2017 simulation conducted by the Illinois State Board of Education:
The Plano Community Unit School District 88 would see an additional $2,032,929, Oswego Community Unit School District 308 would see an additional $8,297,311, and Newark School District 66 would see an additional $19,405.
Streator Elementary School District 44 would see an additional $1,028,318, Streator Township H.S. District 40 would see an additional $1,195,318, Ottawa Elementary School District 141 would see an additional $970,097, Ottawa H.S. District 140 would see an additional $1,646,014, Peru Elementary School District 124 would see an additional $126,383, LaSalle Elementary School District 122 would see an additional $486,938, Marseilles Elementary School District 150 would see an additional $239,957, and Mendota would see an additional $600,363.
Morris Community High School District 101 would see an additional $661,766, Morris School District 54 would see an additional $234,898, Minooka Community H.S. District 111 would see an additional $1,746,278, and Minooka Community District 201 would see an additional $797,947.
“More than a half a billion dollars in funding would go to struggling school,” Rezin said. “Schools that rightfully deserve more funding because the current formula works against them and their students are now fairly treated, and we are not asking taxpayers to pay any more. In short, this proposal is properly distributing the tax dollars being sent to Springfield.”
The evidence based approach takes into account 27 different variables to set individual adequacy targets for each school district, based on the costs of the district, accepted best practices, and student demographics. Districts would be grouped into four tiers based on how far they are from their adequacy target, with tier one including the schools needing the most help, up to tier four, which contains the schools that already meet or exceed their adequacy targets.
“If we are serious about our kids and the state’s future, education funding reform should be a top priority,” Rezin said. “This approach is good for school districts in my Senate district and across the state. It makes our students a priority, doesn’t pick winners and losers, and helps our communities.”
In addition to being a member of the Education Funding Reform Commission, Rezin is also a member of the Education Committee at the Statehouse.