The Illinois Senate has passed a plan to overhaul the way schools are funded. But the proposal has a long way to go before becoming law.
After months of negotiations and with just four days left on the General Assembly's spring calendar, the measure was deemed "ready for primetime." The plan would direct state funding to more impoverished schools and divert funding from schools in wealthier areas.
Supporters of the plan, like Sen. Mike Noland (D-Elgin) say this would help remedy inequity in school funding.
While the state's budget for next year is still in flux, Republicans in the Illinois Senate say they have a new plan that would fully fund public schools. They say it's something that would help schools now, unlike a competing Democratic proposal that's still building support.
Illinois has been shortchanging schools for several years. Instead of funding them at the full amount required by law, they've been cutting — it's at 89 percent this year. That's because mandatory spending on things like health care and pensions has been choking out other priorities.
The way schools are funded in Illinois has been getting a lot of attention lately. The WUIS Education Desk presents a discussion entitled "Transforming Our Schools: A Panel On Education Funding" held recently in Decatur. The panel includes State Senator Andy Manar, Warrensburg-Latham Superintendent Kristen Kendrick, Decatur Public Schools Director of Business Affairs Todd Covault, Center for Tax & Budget Accountability Director Ralph Martire and moderators Brian Byers of WSOY & Bill Wheelhouse, WUIS. The event was coordinated with the Education Coalition of Macon County.
Springfield District 186 is endorsing a change in state funding that would benefit the district. Area Senator Andy Manar, a Democrat, is pushing the idea to re-work how the state doles out money to schools. Manar says it would provide more equity between wealthy and poor districts.
Springfield public schools would receive nearly 6 percent more under the change. A statement from District 186 says an increase in funding would allow teaching positions to be restored and technology upgrades. It also says it could help avoid future budget cuts.
Downstate schools would be the primary winners under a proposed school funding overhaul before the General Assembly. A report from Illinois' board of education could lead to a regional divide when it comes up for a vote.
Illinois' public school system relies heavily on property taxes, often meaning the quality of a student's education will depend on his or her zip code.
But a proposal in the General Assembly would completely change the state's complicated funding formula.
Members of the General Assembly this spring are grappling with whether to change the way schools are funded in Illinois. With just a month of session left, the plan's sponsor is altering his strategy, in hopes Republican opposition will fade into bipartisan support.
Senator Andy Manar wants schools to receive state money based on the needs of their students ... not the wealth of local property taxpayers. So, the Democrat from Bunker Hill has proposed an overhaul of Illinois' complicated school funding formula.
Illinois lawmakers are considering a major change to the way local schools get money from the state. But information about how individual school districts would fare in the new system won't be ready until just before the end of the spring legislative session.
Illinois' schools are primarily funded by local property taxes, which means that there's a big disparity in how much money is spent on a student depending on her zip code.
New data suggests just how big a hit most school districts would take if Illinois' income tax rate rolls back as scheduled at the end of the year.
Illinois' budget could play out a lot of different ways. But under one scenario -- the one Gov. Pat Quinn says will be the case if tax rates aren't kept at five percent -- kindergarten through high school classrooms across Illinois will get $450 million dollars less from the state.
A group of Democratic lawmakers Wednesday introduced a long-awaited piece of legislation that would dramatically change the way schools are funded in Illinois for the first time since 1997. The sponsors call the measure the most comprehensive way to ensure equity across the state but say there's still work to do in gaining broad support on the regionally divisive issue.
State Sen. Andy Manar is setting up temporary office space after fire damaged his district office in the city of Staunton in southern Illinois. Manar is a Democrat from Bunker Hill. He says the fire started about noon on Monday in a business next door to his office in a historic building on Main Street.
Manar says no one was injured. He did not know the cause or a damage estimate. Volunteer firefighters from Staunton, Gillespie, Mount Olive, Litchfield and Olive responded. Manar says they acted quickly to keep the fire from spreading.
Illinois schools have seen state funding cut again and again in recent years. A Democratic lawmaker wants to change how that money is distributed. But it remains to be whether they can get more money in the system.
State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) says inequality is basically guaranteed by Illinois' complicated education funding laws. That's because it's based on property taxes, so schools in impoverished areas can struggle to get by.
House Speaker Michael Madigan readies to introduce a pension overhaul bill denounced by public employee unions, who say Illinois should instead close corporate tax loopholes. Madigan today (12/11) issued a statement saying Illinois lawmakers "must resist the temptation to cave to corporate officials' demands every time they impose a deadline for payment in exchange for remaining in Illinois."
A day after Office Depot announced it would stay in Florida rather than move to Illinois, the speaker of the House says Illinois needs to end its practice of offering tax incentives on a case-by-case basis.
The Illinois House is getting flak for adjourning earlier this month without voting on tax breaks approved by the Senate -- deals meant to lure the newly-merged Office Depot to Illinois, and to convince Archer Daniels Midland to keep its global headquarters in-state.
Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, is the sponsor of a Senate bill to give ADM a tax credit in exchange for creating new jobs in Chicago and Decatur, if the company moves its global headquarters from Decatur to Chicago.
While much of the attention was focused on pensions, state legislators yesterday also dealt with measures intended to get a trio of companies to call Illinois home. But they only got halfway there.
Decatur-based Archer Daniels Midland is shopping for a new world headquarters. The agribusiness giant may well choose Chicago; but it wants a tax break from Illinois, like in a measure approved by the Senate.
New legislation would bring jobs to Decatur as a condition for Archer Daniels Midland Company to receive state incentives it wants to keep its headquarters in Illinois.
State Sen. Andy Manar introduced an amendment Thursday to require the company to relocate at least 100 jobs from out of state to Decatur and hire at least 100 new full-time employees a year in the city for five years.
ADM announced earlier this year it will move its 100-employee global headquarters out of Decatur. ADM is reportedly considering Chicago and other cities.
Advocates pass out fliers promoting it during the Pride Parade in Chicago over the summer; despite an intense campaign to legalize same sex marriage in Illinois, the legislation's sponsor remains tight-lipped about whether he has the 60 votes needed for it to pass in the House.
For the first time since a brief special session in July,legislators will begin making their way en masse to Springfield this week, for the fall veto session. The agenda before them is relatively light. The General Assembly will likely debate some budget matters. And there's a hearing on a new type of health care coverage for retired state employees. Amanda Vinicky previews what else is ahead.
State Senator Andy Manar (D - Bunker Hill) is in his first term serving the 48th District. It stretches from Springfield and Decatur south into Madison County.
Before he was elected, Manar spent time as Chief of Staff to Senate President John Cullerton and served as Chairman of the Macoupin County Board.
Manar sat down with WUIS' Sean Crawford to talk about some of the issues facing state government, including public pensions, tax incentives for ADM, education funding and how he was considered as a possible running mate to former gubernatorial candidate Bill Daley:
As Archer Daniels Midland plans to move its headquarters out of Decatur, state lawmakers are considering whether to award tax breaks to keep the agribusiness giant in Illinois.
At a legislative hearing in Chicago, representatives of ADM told lawmakers they wanted incentives worth $1.2 million a year for up to 20 years. In return, the company would keep its headquarters in Illinois, likely in Chicago.
One lawmakers says it's "essentially blackmailing the state."
A proposed incentive package created to persuade Archer Daniels Midland Company to keep its global headquarters in Illinois is sparking debate among lawmakers. The proposal would give ADM a 10 percent break on utility taxes for up to 30 years and an income-tax credit. It's expected to be discussed at an Illinois House committee meeting Tuesday. ADM announced last week it plans to move its global headquarters out of Decatur.
Thursday's unemployment numbers show Decatur is once again lagging the rest of Illinois. That long-term trend is partly responsible for a new law aimed at changing the way Illinois handles economic development.
In Decatur, 13.2 percent of job-seekers can't find work. State Sen. Andy Manar — a Democrat whose district includes Decatur — says that's part of the reason he thought it was time to blow up the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and start over.