Senate Continues Work at Capitol; Discussing K-12th Grade Education Funding

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Springfield - The state has not seen a change to the education funding formula since 1997, and in recent years, school suPErintendents have had concerns about the formula being out of date with current school needs.

"We have greater concentrations of poverty, particularly south of Interstate 80, and we need a formula that reflects those new demographics," said Dr. David Lett, superintendent of Pana schools.

Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) agrees with that.

He said that while some schools are worried about having to cut sports teams or buy electronic devices, others are worried about cutting jobs or educational programs.

"We have some districts that are asking for relief of music or pe classes because they don't have the facilities to hold those classes in.  And then we have these other districts that are asking to waive the mandate for physical because they can afford a Fitbit for every student," said Manar.

Governor Bruce Rauner has even said that the formula is outdated in his budget address, but that he wouldn't sign legislation that would create what he calls "winners or losers."

"Any school funding reform proposal that involves taking money from one school district and giving it to another is doomed to fail," said Rauner.

Manar said that under the state's current system some schools are already losing out, and that if the governor has a solution, he should offer it to the General Assembly.

"He should come up with his proposal that doesn't have any losers that bridges the inequity gap," he said.

The Senate returns next week for a two day session while the House returns on April 4th.

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