Education Dollars; Funding Formula Continue to be Concern for Lawmakers

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Springfield - Funding for education at a new level was part of governor Bruce Rauner's promise to lawmakers and the people of Illinois in his budget address on Wednesday.

"We must fully fund this foundation level as a first step towards reforming our funding formula.  Past attempts to fix the formula didn't work because they pitted communities against each other.  Any school funding reform proposal that involves taking money from one school district and giving it to another is doomed to fail," the governor said.

However, part of his address didn't sit will with some, including senator Andy Manar.

"What I think the governor fails to understand is that even if we had money to shower, to rain down on the system today, that's not going to get money that's needed desperately in districts that are struggling with the effects of poverty," Manar told reporters at a press conference Thursday.

Changing the state's funding formula has been a big part of Manar's time at the Capitol.

He said that while increased funding for schools is a good start to improving education, he believe the problem won't go away without major reform to ensure the neediest schools get the most funding possible.

"We all know that we have a system that applies different rules to different zip codes and those truly don't focus resources on children that live in poverty.  Chicago's plight today is the same as any of rural downstate districts and even suburban districts.  We have to focus more resources on kids that live in poverty.  We are the worst in the nation on that metric," he added.

Both the House and Senate won't return to the Capitol until March 1st.

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