Press release: Advance Illinois applauds new, more equitable school funding formula, culmination of years-long, collaborative effort
CHICAGO (August 31, 2017) – Advance Illinois applauds Illinois’ new, more equitable school funding formula that puts kids first and ends an era of the state having the most inequitable school funding system in the country. The new formula drives dollars to the neediest school districts, those that have the fewest local resources and are the least well-funded. While much work remains before Illinois will achieve funding equity and adequacy, the law sets every school district in the state on a path toward providing a quality education.
“The enactment of bipartisan school funding reform fixes a problem that has faced Illinois for decades,” said former Gov. Jim Edgar, Founding Co-Chair and Advance Illinois Board Member. “Illinois now has a funding formula that improves the prospects of children across the state, regardless of where they live.”
The last update to Illinois’ school funding system took place 20 years ago. Advance Illinois has advocated for the passage of a new formula for four years in partnership with superintendents, teachers, parents and civil rights leaders as a member of the Fix the Formula Illinois campaign and the Funding Illinois’ Future coalition.
“Advance Illinois was founded to pass and implement game-changing legislation on behalf of Illinois’ public education students,” said William Daley, Founding Co-Chair and Advance Illinois Board Member. “This desperately needed school funding reform will position Illinois students to be more competitive nationally and globally.”
The compromise in SB1947 incorporates the evidence-based model and aligns with the school funding equity principles held by Advance Illinois and its partners. Those principles include: taking into account student needs and local property wealth, closing funding gaps between wealthier and low-income schools and keeping them closed, and providing a long-term stable funding system that helps all districts achieve adequate funding.
“The new funding formula is about helping kids in every corner of the state, from my hometown of Carmi to Chicago,” said John Edwardson, Co-Chair, Advance Illinois. “We are grateful for the thousands of supporters who have been working toward this day, and to the many legislators who have been committed to fixing the formula.”
Fixing the school funding formula has been a priority of Advance Illinois’ since the 2013 release of Funding Expectations, a report that featured the inequities of the state’s school funding system.
In 2015, for every 81 cents spent on a low-income student, Illinois spent a dollar on a non-low-income student. The Education Trust, a national education policy organization, ranked Illinois last in the nation for equitable school funding.
“Advance Illinois undertook the analysis necessary to understand how inequitable funding gaps were growing and impacting our most vulnerable students,” said Marin Gjaja, Co-Chair, Advance Illinois. “Improving academic achievement is the true promise of a new funding system, which has enormous potential for our students, for their readiness for college and career, and for the future of the state’s workforce.”
About Advance Illinois
Leaders from more than a dozen civic, philanthropic, business and education organizations from across the state came together to found Advance Illinois in 2008 to serve as an independent, objective and nonpartisan voice promoting a healthy public education system that prepares all students for success in college, career and civic life. Advance Illinois is equity-driven, student-centered, data-focused and connected to community and educators. Advance Illinois identifies, designs and advocates for policies that are tailored to the needs of students in Illinois. To learn more, visit www.advanceillinois.org, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.