Earlier this week, we told you the good news that the Illinois legislature, reaching across the aisle in both chambers, took an important step by voting unanimously to fix a problem that treats our state's neediest schools like piggy banks. (Don’t forget to contact Governor Rauner and urge him to sign HB656. Your voice matters!)
Today, we have more promising news: a fix to our state's horrendously unfair and inequitable funding system might finally (finally!) be around the corner.
An education funding bill known as the Evidence-Based Funding for Student Success Act (or SB1) has been going through several critical and improved amendments since it was first introduced. And, last night, the House and Senate both passed the amended SB1.
Folks, this is something to get excited about. This is big news.
What changes would the bill bring about? For starters, it would distribute more equitably the way our state funds education as new dollars become available. SB1 would bring a more equitable system that helps level the playing field for all Illinois students. One thing we can all agree on is that the quality of a student’s public education shouldn't depend on their zip code, and this bill aims to fix that.
Here are some highlights of SB1 (as amended):
- Pays $215 million in normal costs for the Chicago Teacher Pensions – a glaring inequity facing schools in Chicago.
- Reflects the February 1, 2017 report and the principles of the bi-partisan, bi-cameral Illinois School Funding Commission convened by the Governor.
- Keeps current funding levels for all school districts in Illinois in place – not a single one would lose funding.
- Incorporates HB656, thus ending the practice of diverting 39 cents of every Title I dollar used to hire teachers for our poorest students away from the classroom.
Stay tuned for more updates.