School Funding Reform Commission Making Progress

Formed in July, the bi-partisan School Funding Reform Commission is tasked with making recommendations to the General Assembly by February 1st, 2017. The end goal is to revise the current school funding formula to ensure fair and equitable funding for Illinois’ public education system.

State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) was appointed to the bipartisan School Funding Reform Commission and joins 24 other members who attend meetings regularly. The group just wrapped up their sixth meeting and will continue to delve into issues critical to the distribution of education funding in the following months. The meetings and schedule can be found at the commission’s website, www.isbe.net/ISFRC/default.htm.

“I am optimistic that real change will come from our group’s proposals,” said Rep. Bourne. “Illinois has shortchanged our schools for years. We have to revamp the outdated formula so that every child in this state receives a high quality education. ”

The current formula, created in December 1997, is so dependent on property taxes that it creates inequality for school districts with low property wealth. The Education Trust, a nonpartisan advocacy group, found Illinois' school funding system to be the nation's most unfair. It found that poor students receive nearly 20 percent fewer state dollars than students in wealthier districts. Most of those poorer districts are downstate.