Bourne hails school funding formula as guaranteeing 'better future' for Illinois children
Illinois students now have access to a fairer and more equitable education, according to Rep. Avery Bourne (R-Raymond), a co-sponsor of the state's new education funding formula, which Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law Aug. 31.
Senate Bill 1947 changes the state's funding formula for the first time in 20 years. Districts now will receive state funding based on their perceived need.
“For an entire generation of students who lived under that education funding formula and now other generations of students, we have perpetuated an education funding system that does not send our state dollars to he schools who need it most first,” Bourne said. “We are past due for reforming our school funding formula.”
A 500-page product of bipartisan compromise, SB1947 contains a hold-harmless clause that guarantees schools will receive no less money than they received the year before. State aid will be prioritized to schools that are most in need. Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will also receive roughly $450 million more than expected from previous education proposals, and the bill includes a provision to give $75 million in tax credits to donors to scholarships that allow students to attend the school of their choice.
“This school funding agreement replaces our broken school funding plan with elements from the governor’s school funding reform commission and with input from bipartisan bilateral negotiations,” Avery said. “We have a proposal now that will ensure that all students in Illinois receive the high-quality education they deserve. Moreover, this compromise prioritizes funding to the students and the schools who need it most. This plan is realistic; this plan is fair. This plan represents the best outcome for all the students in Illinois.”
The road to education funding reform was one fraught with delays and political division. Democratic lawmakers originally proposed SB1 as the education reform bill, but Rauner used an amendatory veto to strip it of some provisions. Although the Senate overrode the veto, the House did not. After initially failing to pass the alternative, SB1947, the House recalled and passed it on a 73-34 vote.
The Senate followed suit a day later, voting 38-14 to approve SB1947.
“We as a state have done a disservice to generations of students in this state,” Bourne said. “Many of us came to the General Assembly hoping to provide a better future for the next generation of Illinoisans. Changing the way we fund our schools is a fundamental part of making that a reality.”