Identifying bipartisan solutions to reform the state’s antiquated and inequitable school funding formula will be the challenge for Senator McConnaughay and other appointees to the Governor’s recently formed Illinois School Funding Reform Commission.
“Guaranteeing our students have the best education possible starts with ensuring that our schools are properly funded,” said Sen. McConnaughay. “Unfortunately, our current education funding formula is outdated and isn’t providing Illinois students and schools with the equitable funding that they rely on. Our schools deserve better and our students deserve more.”
Gov. Rauner’s announcement of the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission was quickly followed by the appointment of five legislators to the panel by Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno. State Sens. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington), Dave Luechtefeld (R-Okawville), Dan McConchie (R-Lake Zurich), Karen McConnaughay (R-West Dundee) and Sue Rezin (R-Peru) will serve on the commission to be chaired by Illinois Secretary of Education Beth Purvis.
“Ensuring our students receive the best education possible requires strong leadership and a commitment by all stakeholders to work in a bipartisan, collaborative, manner,” said Leader Radogno. “I applaud Governor Rauner for once again reaffirming his commitment to our teachers and students, and for his leadership in creating this commission. By working together, we can ensure every school in Illinois has the resources they need to be successful.”
The remaining legislative leaders also named appointees to the 25-member commission (five members will come from each of the four legislative caucuses and five members from the Governor’s administration).
The commission’s assignment is to recommend a comprehensive solution to reform Illinois’ school funding formula. It’s anticipated the first public meeting of the commission will be held in early August, though that date has not been announced. Recommendations are due to the Governor and General Assembly by February 2017, allowing lawmakers the ability to take action during the 2017 legislative session.
Senator McConnaughay said there is breathing room for lawmakers and the Governor to come to an agreement on the school funding formula. For the first time in seven years, Illinois schools will start the new school year (2016-17) with full funding. That milestone is part of the stop-gap budget plan approved last month.
House Democras appointees
Rep. Fred Crespo
Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie
Rep. Will Davis
Rep. Rita Mayfield
Rep. Emily McAsey
House Republican appointees
Rep. Avery Bourne
Rep. Sheri Jesiel
Rep. Dwight Kay
Rep. Robert Pritchard
Rep. Christine Winger
Senate Democrat appointees
Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant
Sen. Daniel Biss
Sen. Kimberly Lightford
Sen. Andy Manar
Sen. Iris Martinez
Senate Republican appointees
Sen. Jason Barickman
Sen. Dave Luechtefeld
Sen. Dan McConchie
Sen. Karen McConnaughay
Sen. Sue Rezin
Beth Purvis, Secretary of Education (Chair)
Evelyn Sanguinetti, Lieutenant Governor
James Dimas, Secretary of Human Services
Jennifer Hammer, Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy
Jodi Scott, Regional Superintendent of Schools for Henderson, Knox, Mercer, and Warren Counties
ISBE Chairman James Meeks will act as the liaison between the commission and ISBE. Superintendent Smith and the ISBE team will be asked to support the work of the commission, with specific emphasis on providing conceptual and statistical feedback to the commission regarding proposed funding models.