If an elected official tells you the school funding problem in Illinois is a formula, they are telling a lie. The school funding problem in Illinois is inadequate revenue.


By Bev Johns

Is ANY politician telling the truth about Senate Bill 1?

All sides say some schools will NOT OPEN next month (although no one has yet identified even one school that will not open in August). What is true is that many

schools could not remain open all school year without State funding.

State Sen. Andy Manar, who sponsored Senate Bill 1 to change the method of funding for schools, told The Associated Press a veto by Rauner would effectively KILL SB 1.

Manar needs to stop saying we have the “worst school funding formula in the country”.

No, we do not. The lack of funding of our current formula, the failure to increase the Foundation level for 9 years, since 2008, means we rely far too much on the property tax, which results in disparate and inequitable funding.

No matter how many times Manar (and others) say it, the problem is not the formula but the lack of funding. (Comment from Capitol Fax, 7/17/17)

Rauner states that his revised SB1 “for the first time, ensures all school districts in Illinois are equitably and adequately funded.”

His revised plan does NO SUCH THING. 

SB 1 (revised or not) is just about funding FORMULAS, not funding. 

“But as there are many facets to the school funding equation, the one that is most important — and that often is the first component to fall away from the discussion — is funding it.

“In truth, our current funding formula would likely be meeting most needs if it was properly funded.

“It does attempt to funnel more funding to those districts with less property wealth, but it is still using the foundation level of spending per pupil from 2008.

“No formula will work properly with that track record of underfunding.”

Illinois Association of School Boards, Funding reform won’t work without funding,

By Ben Schwarm


“the annual failure to fund the GSA formula at any level close to the recommendations of the Education Funding Advisory Board, which was to have been an iron-clad rule when EFAB was created decades ago.

“I don’t think there would be an argument about equity if the state funded the 50% of education that the Constitution implies it should and that the GSA “equalization” formula was designed for in the 1970s.

“The state can’t equalize anything paying just 26%.

“The structure of the formula didn’t cause the problem.

“Failure to fund the formula as it was intended to be funded, that’s what caused the problem and nothing else.”

Illinois School News Service, April 27, 2017

3 Replies to “If an elected official tells you the school funding problem in Illinois is a formula, they are telling a lie. The school funding problem in Illinois is inadequate revenue.”

  1. There seems to be a common thread and disconnect in IL. State legislators continually blame the formula used for operating schools as potentially being the impetus for districts not opening or being able to stay open. Our illustrious state lawmakers also accuse certain IL pensioners for contributing to Illinois’ financial trials and tribulations. The reality is it all boils down to inadequate funding by the legislators for both groups. What is the common thread for a scapegoat you may ask? Anything and anyone associated with public education. Perhaps our legislators need to reflect on how their actions or lack there of have gotten us to where we are financially today and to come to the realization to paraphrase former President Clinton, “IT’S THE FUNDING, STUPID!!”

  2. Yes, IT’S THE FUNDING, STUPID. But now the supporters of SB 1, mostly school superintendents, are holding meetings all over Illinois, even doing (illegal) robocalls to school parents, in an attempt to spread false info that SB 1 will solve all of the problems with schools in Illinois.

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