Manar’s latest school funding formula idea not likely to get far.

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State Senator Andy Manar.

-Bev Johns

State Senator Andy Manar will today introduce an amendment to Senate Bill 231 to change all of the Illinois school funding formulas.

The new amendment appears to be dead on arrival as it would cost $600 million, still eliminate State laws on dedicated special education funding, provide money for Chicago pensions, and not break the stalemate of Senate Democrats saying NO funding for K-12 education until the school funding formulas are changed.

According to the State Journal Register, Manar’s plan would essentially do away with grants that are not distributed on the basis of need, such as SPECIAL EDUCATION or transportation reimbursements.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Senate Democrats unveiled a revamped plan to overhaul how the state doles out money to local schools, but a provision to have the state pick up more than $200 million in pension costs for Chicago Public Schools quickly drew criticism from House Democrats and Republicans.

With a limited pot of state dollars to go around, well-off districts don’t want to have their already small share of state aid cut as lawmakers search for ways to boost funding for poorer schools.

“You can’t allow the existing system to go on where taxpayers across Illinois are somehow funding local school pensions they have no control over,” [House Speaker] Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said.

Republicans appear to agree with Gov. Rauner who stated yesterday, “to say this year we’re going to hold up school funding and the opening of schools until [the school funding formula] gets fixed, that’s not fair.”

Manar Press Release  [WITH ADDED COMMENTS] –

SPRINGFIELD– No Illinois schools would lose out [FOR ONE YEAR] on state money under a revised school funding reform plan introduced Tuesday by Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill).

The legislation, Senate Bill 231, provides that state funding for education would be distributed based on student need while ensuring that no district would receive less state money [FOR ONLY ONE YEAR] than it did in the 2015-16 school year.

“We’ve waited a generation to try to do this. We’ve been listening to Gov. Rauner, who says kids are our number one priority. We agree. That’s our priority, too,” Manar said. “As a result, under this proposal no school would lose any state money. [ONLY FOR ONE YEAR] This legislation allows him to keep his word and us to keep our commitment to bring funding fairness to public education.”

The legislation comes after lengthy conversations with school district leaders and lawmakers statewide, as well as careful attention to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desire that no school district lose money under any reform of the state’s school funding formula.

[NOTE: LENGTHY CONVERSATIONS WITH SCHOOL DISTRICT LEADERS, NOT WITH TEACHERS, SPECIAL EDUCATORS, PARENTS, ETC.]

The state’s current formula for funding education, adopted in 1997, created a system in which school spending varies drastically. Currently, some schools spend as much as $30,000 per student, while others can only afford about $6,000.

[AND MANAR’S PROPOSAL WILL DO LITTLE TO CHANGE THAT: HE DOES NOT PROPOSE TAKING AWAY PROPERTY TAXES FROM THE $30,000 DISTRICT AND DOES NOT PROPOSE THE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IT WOULD TAKE TO RAISE THE $6,000 DISTRICT TO ANYWHERE CLOSE TO THE $30,000 DISTRICT]

Manar’s proposal targets state dollars to schools where the dollars can produce the biggest academic turnaround among students. Examples would be schools with high concentrations of students living in poverty, students with disabilities and English learners.

[THRU FORMULA BLOCK GRANTS, ELIMINATING THE DIRECT TIES BETWEEN FUNDING AND PROGRAMS SUCH AS THE $9,000 STATE PAYMENT FOR EACH SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHER AND OTHER PROFESSIONALS WORKING FULL-TIME WITH STUDENTS WITH IEPs]

Facing economic pressures, in 2012 the state began a process of shortchanging the state’s investment in public kindergarten through high school education. [YES, THE REAL PROBLEM] A year later, the Senate Education Funding Advisory Committee (EFAC) was created to study the impact of these cuts in the hope of addressing the fundamental unfairness of the state’s school funding system. Since then, Manar has sponsored two other plans aimed at achieving this goal, Senate Bill 16 and Senate Bill 1.

[WITH NO NEW FUNDING]

“Everyone recognizes the current system is broken,” said Manar. “It’s time to come together and support a modern funding system that ensures all students in Illinois – from Cairo to Rockford – have the same opportunities to learn and to compete.”

[IN AN ATTEMPT TO FORCE ACTION, MANAR TOLD THE STATE JOURNAL REGISTER THAT ANY NEW FUNDING USING THE CURRENT FORMULAS WOULD BE “A WASTE OF MONEY”]

4 thoughts on “Manar’s latest school funding formula idea not likely to get far.

  1. At least Sen. Manar is addressing the State’s regressive funding system that provides less funding to children who need it the most, and the most funding to kids from wealthy homes who need it the least.

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