Illinois had the most inequitable school funding system in the country until the State enacted Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) in 2017. It was a historic moment for Illinois, with State leaders from both sides of the aisle coming together in the best interests of students. Under EBF, as new State dollars become available, they flow first to the school districts that need them the most, and no district loses money.
Now it's time to address the other great inequity in school funding: how employer costs for teacher pensions are handled. In Illinois, State government pays the overwhelming majority of these costs in a manner that has things backward: school districts that are better off and have greater local property wealth benefit from significantly more State dollars than poorer districts do. The equity gap is startling: districts funded over 100% of adequacy receive $328 per pupil more than districts funded below 80% of adequacy.
Increasing equity in pensions requires a rethink.
Stand’s proposal to solve this problem, the Equity Boost, is a win-win solution.
- It provides predictability and stability for school districts that have been fearing a sudden pension cost shift.
- The amount added to the hold harmless Base Funding Minimum for pensions will stretch further as pension normal costs go down.
- It protects teacher pensions and directs more State dollars to the neediest districts.
- The State will fully fund education sooner.
Learn more about the problem, and Stand’s proposal, in the new report “Accelerating Equity: Integrating Teacher Pension Funding into Fair School Funding.”