Illinois Needs a Path to Adequate School Funding

When Illinois overhauled its school funding formula five years ago, it came with a goal to fully fund our schools within a decade. So…are we halfway there? Not even close! In fact, a million students still attend underfunded schools.

Most years, the state has gone along with the Minimum Funding Level – $350 million. At this rate, it will take until 2047 to reach full funding.

This year, advocates are saying “minimum” isn’t good enough for our kids. We need a path to adequacy, not a path to mediocrity.

The State Board of Education will vote on its budget recommendation on Wednesday and has the opportunity to join the chorus of voices pushing to go beyond the minimum. That’s not a sure thing, though. The board’s finance committee met and recommended you guessed it – the Minimum Funding Level. Tell the board: increase school funding by $550 million because the minimum isn’t good enough for Illinois students.

Funding reform created an equitable framework for new funding. Every new dollar helps close the equity gap between low-income and higher-income districts. But our investments to date aren’t moving the needle. Illinois schools are still among the most inequitably funded in the country.

It’s time to step up and invest $550 million more in Evidence-Based Funding, putting Illinois on a path to adequacy 10 years sooner.

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