Heyl Royster

 

School Funding Reform Act Proposes Sweeping Changes to School Funding

Senate Bill 16, introduced on April 2, 2014 by Senator Andy Manar, attempts to change Illinois’ current school funding system. SB 16 proposes to replace Illinois’ complicated General State Aid funding formula with a simple weighted formula that the sponsors claim will distribute funds more equally based on individual school districts’ need and their ability to generate funds through property taxes. Under the weighted formula, districts with limited local resources would rely less on local property taxes and receive more funding from the state, while wealthier districts would receive less funding from the state and be required to rely on local revenue generated through local property taxes. Under the proposed formula a high percentage of low income students would add “weight” to a district’s state funding. Low value of taxable property-per-student would also add “weight” to a district’s state funding.

According to the bill’s sponsor, the current funding formula distributes only forty four cents (.44) of every education dollar based on district needs. Under SB16, according to its sponsors, ninety-two cents (.92) of each education dollar will be distributed based on district need.

The bill will be held on the senate floor without a vote until the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) can run data through the new formula to show what the proposed funding distribution will be for each school district in the state. The ISBE estimates that it will compile the data by mid-May.

We will keep you apprised when the data is compiled and the status of SB16.