WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Education Funding

The debate over school funding dominated much of the legislative session, and concluded with a compromise plan designed to send more state funds to the neediest districts. But so far, those districts haven't gotten any extra funds.

Rich Egger

The West Prairie District 103 Board of Education is working to address challenges and create a vision for the coming years, and it is asking for help from the public.

Illinois lawmakers have been called back to the capitol a few times this summer to weigh in on big state issues during legislative special sessions.  Tri States Public Radio recently caught up with Senator Jil Tracy (R-Quincy) when she visited to Macomb. She spoke with TSPR about the two biggest votes of the summer so far: the state budget and K-12 school funding.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has been drumming up opposition to the Democrats' new school funding plan, known as Senate Bill 1, by touting how much more money each district would receive under his plan. He points to Elgin U-46, the state’s second largest school district, as the biggest winner: That northwest suburban district would gain about $15 million if lawmakers approve Rauner’s amendatory veto.

So that district's CEO, Tony Sanders, must be rooting for Rauner's plan, right?

 

Wrong.

The future of state funding for Illinois schools is still up in the air Monday afternoon. The fight over Senate Bill 1 — legislation that would overhaul the way Illinois supports k-12 schools — has such high stakes and such slim vote margins that it has turned into a parliamentary chess game. Now, the next move belongs to Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Gov. Bruce Rauner is calling lawmakers back from their summer vacation to deal with a new school funding plan in special session starting Wednesday. The issue has turned into a showdown between the Republican governor and the Democrat-controlled legislature, with the fate of k-12 school children in the balance.

The Illinois legislature adjourned last night with no budget for education -- at any level.

 Gov. Bruce Rauner says he supports one of Illinois' top industries: Agriculture. But critics say a recent plan goes against his own assertion that he's a “strong advocate” for it.

Changing how Illinois funds its schools is Senate President John Cullerton's top priority as a new legislative session gets underway. Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, says Illinois shouldn't fund schools at all next year until it comes with a more equitable way to do it. John Cullerton says the way Illinois funds schools "crushes dreams" and "stifles growth."


Governor Bruce Rauner has approved the portion of the state budget earmarked for public schools. His move yesterday ensures schools will be able to open on time.

The legislation even increases funding for education by more than $200 million dollars over the previous year. But the new money has strings attached.

Illinois schools will be able to open on time this fall, despite an ongoing budget stalemate at the statehouse.

Schools not having the money to operate had been a worry, given Gov. Bruce Rauner's condemnation of the spending plan passed by Democratic legislators.

It isn't anymore.

Rich Egger

A measure of particular interest to many downstate educators is the School Funding Reform Act of 2015.  It’s Senate Bill 1, which means it was the first piece of legislation introduced in the Senate this session.

Dusty Rhodes

Governor Bruce Rauner was scheduled to deliver the keynote address at a meeting of public school leaders Tuesday in Springfield. Instead, he sent his new education czar. 

Rich Egger

For the third year in a row, the West Prairie School District expects deficit spending in its Education Fund.

Rich Egger

Critics of the way Illinois funds schools say it's wrong that the quality of a child's education is based largely on his/her zip code.

Rich Egger

State funding for education in Illinois has dropped by hundreds of millions of dollars in the past several years.

Cutting School Transportation Funding

May 6, 2013

Illinois schools could see state funding reduced by millions of dollars under Governor Pat Quinn's budget proposal. One of the largest cuts would be to the fund used to get children to school on time.

Increasing State Aid for Wealthy School Districts

Apr 3, 2013

Illinois gives out millions of dollars annually to well-off schools, and the state's education chief said that number could start to rise.

The districts receiving the state funds can't go to local residents for more money because of property tax caps.

State superintendent Christopher Koch said as the economy recovers and property values increase, Illinois could be on the hook for sending even more money to wealthy districts.

“The key is, how do we solve it? How do you put a better system in, one that's less reliant on property values?” Koch asked.

The workforce will be a bit smaller in the Macomb School District next fall as a result of budget cuts.

The equivalent of three full-time positions will be eliminated as part of what the district is calling a “cost containment” plan, which the Board of Education approved during its March meeting.

Superintendent Alene Resuchel said the district will also dip into its reserves to balance its budget, but she said it is not sustainable in the long-term to rely solely on reserves.

One northeast Missouri school district will have a little more money to spend during the upcoming school year.

The Clark County R-1 School Board has signed off on the district’s $9.1-million budget. 

Superintendent Ritchie Kracht says the spending plan is balanced… with revenues slightly exceeding expenses.

He says annexing the Revere C-3 School District into Clark County has meant a $200,000 boost in assessed valuation as well as additional state aid.