School funding should be increased by more than $3,000 per student per year, according to a report from the Illinois Education Funding Advisory Board. Many school districts across the state already spend more per student than the recommended new Foundation Level (New Trier Township High School District 203 spends over $23,500), but new funding would likely help many districts in low-income areas of the state.
The biennial report, announced shortly before the holidays, urges lawmakers to increase “statutory per-pupil Foundation Level from the current amount of $6,119 to $9,204 for fiscal year 2018.” The Foundation Level establishes the mandated minimum per-student funding by a mix of state and local funds, and state law requires the State to make up the difference between the Foundation Level and a district’s local wealth.
“Increasing funding for basic education in Illinois will be a challenge, but it is a challenge we ask every policymaker and citizen to embrace,” Sylvia Puente, Board Chair, said in a statement. “The children of Illinois deserve no less.”
If the entire recommended increase to the Foundation Level is enacted, $4.6 billion in new funding in FY18 would be required – almost double the current General State Aid appropriation for public education.