The first of what is expected to be several education funding reform plans was heard this week in the Senate Executive Committee. Senate Republican lawmakers, who have been vocal about the need to reform Illinois’ flawed education funding formula, expressed concerns that numbers are not yet available from the State Board of Education to give a full picture of how the proposal would affect school districts throughout the state.
During the hearing on the bill, Republicans said changing the state’s education funding formula should be part of a larger conversation that gets all stakeholders involved. Lawmakers must perform their due diligence to ensure that Illinois students receive the funding they need to receive a quality education. That involves engaging in a comprehensive discussion on school funding, reliant on input from schools, taxpayers, education experts and other key stakeholders.
While truly reforming the state’s education funding formula will take time, Republicans have a proposed a solution to provide funding to school districts now. For the first time in seven years Gov. Bruce Rauner has proposed fully funding General State Aid (GSA) to schools. The Republican plan, which includes Foundation Level funding and Low-Income Grants, provides more money for K-12 education now, period.