Decatur - School districts across Illinois could see a new funding formula starting in July 2015.
Legislation sponsored by State Senator Andy Manar, (D) Bunker Hill, cleared the Illinois Senate and is now pending the House. It would be the first change in the school funding formula since 1997.
"More money into the system today under the current funding formula is not going to solve the problems faced by the neediest districts in the state," Manar said on the Senate Floor arguing for a new funding method.
Manar's bill shifts money from wealthier districts to financially strapped public schools. Districts like Decatur, Danville, Urbana, Taylorville and Pana will all get additional money under the Manar plan. School districts in Clinton and Monticello would get less.
"For Decatur it adds up to approximately $2.7 million on the numbers they calculated at the state level," District 61 Superintendent Lisa Taylor told WAND News on the extra money that would come into her district. Decatur has been laying off staff in recent years and new dollars would help the district balance its budget.
Lawmakers from wealthier districts in the Chicago suburbs are critical of the reform measure. "This is not a courageous attempt at reform," said Sen. Matt Murphy, (R) Palatine. "It's politics as usual wearing a reformers mask."
The bill does not raise taxes.
It is unlikely the House will vote on the measure before the end of the Spring legislative session. It can be taken up in November during the fall veto session.
(Pictured: Senator Andy Manar after his school reform bill (SB 16) passed in the Illinois Senate.)