Legislators Seek To Adjust Funding Formula; Others Say It's Not Enough

Jan 22, 2014

School funding in Illinois is prorated at 89 percent this year, and might sink even lower next year.

  Illinois ranks last in the nation when it comes to how much money the state kicks in for public education. This has to do with the complicated formula that determines school funding. But it also has to do with the amount districts are being prorated.

This year, Illinois is only paying 89 percent of the money it's supposed to send to schools. Currently those cuts are applied across the board, hitting wealthy and poor districts alike.

Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon says she wants to make sure schools districts with more impoverished students aren't left behind.

“Cutting back the same percentage of everyone—those districts that are the most in need, it has really the opposite effect of what we would want to have happen,” she said.

Lawmakers are exploring whether the entire system needs to be changed. But Ben Schwarm with the Illinois Association of School Boards says regardless of the formula, the state needs to put more money into schools.

“How do you fix school funding by spending less money is really the charge of this committee, and that can’t be done,” he said.

Early projections show next year, Illinois is likely to make even deeper cuts to education.