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New school funding legislation offers better funding for every local district

Springfield – State Senator Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria) is encouraging families to check out the results of school funding reform legislation that is being discussed in Springfield, including new compromise legislation, Senate Bill 1124, that helps every school district in Illinois.

“The numbers do not lie, this is the best funding plan for all of our schools,” said Senator Weaver. “Every school district in the state will receive more funding than they did the previous year.”

According to data recently released by the Illinois State Board of Education, and consistent with Republican goals of educating our children,  Senate Bill 1124 will more equitably distribute money to all students, including low-income students, special education students, English-learning students, and minority students, than any competing proposal, including Senate Bill 1.

As an example, Peoria schools would receive an increase of $5,225,996 under SB1124, compared to just $1,812,331 under SB1. Smaller districts would fare better under the compromise measure as well. Creve Coeur would see a bump of $247,814 under SB1124 versus just $91,434 under Senate Bill 1. Eureka would pick up an additional $172,949 under SB1124, compared to roughly half that under SB1, at just $86, 513.

“Our legislation focuses on agreed-to principles and best practices to create real equity by treating all districts and students fairly under one system, regardless of zip code,” said State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington), the chief sponsor of Senate Bill 1124. “Now the data from ISBE clearly demonstrates that this is the most equitable plan for all students.”

A major difference between Senate Bill 1124 and Senate Bill 1 is how Chicago Public Schools (CPS) are treated. Both bills use the same system to establish the base funding minimum for schools, which ensures that no school would lose money. However, Chicago Democrats added hundreds of millions of dollars to the base funding minimum for CPS, money that no other school would have access to. Those special deals for CPS would add up to $418 million. While poverty concentration is fairly handled in the formula, the extra money for CPS in SB1 clearly appears to be designed to bail out CPS from their past errors. SB1124 would still help Chicago, by using data in an equitable manner, with the district set to see an increase of $119 million.

“There is a clear choice: we can help all of our schools, or we can help Chicago at the expense of every other school,” said Senator Weaver. “Senate Bill 1124 is indisputably the best funding formula for children and schools in our area, along with every other part of the state.”

Both Senate Bills 1124 and 1 rely on identical funding formulas, and are alike in nearly every single way, except for the special deals for Chicago that are only contained in Senate Bill 1.

“The Governor has made it clear he will veto Senate Bill 1, so that legislation is a dead end,” said Senator Weaver. “Senate Bill 1124 is a better bill that can be signed into law. The time to pass this legislation is right now!”

Senator Weaver is urging parents, principals, teachers and superintendents to contact their own lawmakers and ask them to support Senate Bill 1124.

Senate Bill 1124 is part of the “Capitol Compromise,” a complete budget and reform plan advanced in the hopes of finding common ground to end the ongoing budget impasse. The compromise budget plan includes a balanced budget with spending caps, along with real property tax relief for homeowners, effective workers compensation reform to improve the state’s dismal business climate, term limits for legislative leaders, pension reform, and a plan to ease and encourage government consolidation.

“The package we have on the table isn’t another lifeline, stopgap or band-aid budget. The Capitol Compromise a real, balanced full-year budget with reforms to grow our economy, create jobs and get Illinois back on track,” said State Senator Bill Brady (R-Bloomington). “We have less than a week until the end of the fiscal year. It’s way past time for action. Let’s do what is right, and pass a balanced budget for the people of Illinois.”

More information can be found on Senator Weaver’s website at: http://senatorweaver.com/

 
 Senator Weaver invited Senators Bill Brady and Dan McConchie to Peoria discuss compromise education funding legislation and ongoing budget negotiations.

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