If your child is in second grade she will be handed a diploma and graduate from high school before the goal of adequate school funding in the state is achieved, even following the passage of this year’s school funding bill
A group of school superintendents is suing Gov. Bruce Rauner and the State of Illinois seeking more than $7 billion for schools.
Last August, Illinois adopted a new school funding plan. It’s called the “evidence-based model” because it’s calculated using dozens of metrics to determine how much money each district needs to provide kids with a good education. The State Board of Education, known as ISBE, says the total cost would be $7.2 billion. Lawmakers planned to get to that number over time, by appropriating around $350 million per year over the next decade.
But Dan Cox, superintendent of Staunton District 6, says schools that have been starved for cash for years want it now.
“We’re seeking a judgment of $7.2 billion in [fiscal year 20] 19 … to reflect the amount ISBE has always said is the amount required by Article X of the constitution,” Cox says. “We can’t wait for the General Assembly at some future date to appropriate these funds.”
The 22 schools districts are represented by Chicago attorney Thomas Geoghegan.
Geohegan says he believes the suit will remind legislators that school funding has to be priority.
I had plenty of concerns about the school funding bill, even though I encouraged lawmakers to approve it over Rauner’s veto.
Like the superintendents, I felt the length of time to achieve adequacy was simply too long.
While some applauded the inclusion of an evidence-based model and said it represented a significant breakthrough, I had my doubts. While it provides concrete evidence showing the difference between actual spending and adequate spending, few districts in the state approach adequate spending even after the bill was passed.
The bill’s sponsors such as Senator Daniel Biss and Senator Andy Manar claimed it addressed equity by shifting some dollars to poorer districts in the state. Without significantly more new dollars, I am skeptical that you can have real equity without state-wide adequate education funding.
Ten years to wait for adequacy.
If it is your second grade daughter, ten years is all she has left in school.