Adequate and Equitable Funding Spent Wisely

Adequate and Equitable Funding Spent Wisely

Generally speaking, public school districts in this country receive about half of their K-12 funding from state government, raise some locally, and get a small slice from the federal government.

This is not the case in Illinois.

Illinois relies much more heavily on local property taxes to fund their schools. In Illinois, school districts receive only about a quarter of K-12 funding from State government. Two-thirds comes from local sources. The federal government provides 7%.

Taking into account that Illinois State government covers most teacher pension costs for school districts, the share of State dollars rises from a quarter to about one-third. Even so, State government covers one of the smallest slices of school funding in the country.

Educational equity cannot be achieved without equitable funding. In order for every Illinois student to have access to a high quality, relevant education, Springfield should distribute adequate amounts of funding in an equitable manner. School districts, in turn, should distribute their state and local funds equitably to schools.

That’s why Stand remains focused on state-level funding policy in Illinois.

Illinois must continue down the path to equity that started in 2017 with passage of an evidence-based funding formula.

Illinois must also step up its rate of investment in our students’ future, because 80% of its students still attend underfunded schools. Although the Evidence-Based Funding law established a minimum funding level of $350 million – meaning that there is a State goal to add $350 million to the formula each year until adequacy is reached, that amount should be closer to $800 million per year if Illinois were to reach adequate funding within a decade.

Key strategies at the State-level for accelerating the trajectory toward adequate funding include fixing the hidden school funding inequities that persist by supporting equitable pension funding and right-sizing property taxes to further fix the state’s regressive funding structure.