Recap: Professional Review Panel for new school funding model meets for first time
By Maryam Bledsoe
On June 26, the Evidence-Based Funding Professional Review Panel (PRP) met for the first time to discuss its focus and direction. The panel, created by SB1947, a bill adopted in August 2017 that changed the way Illinois funds its public schools will continually review the new funding system to ensure it is staying true to its intent of allocating more resources to the students who need it the most.
The PRP, made up of school and district administrators, educators, parents, PTA representatives, and experts in education from across Illinois, will meet quarterly. Representatives from the Funding Illinois’ Future coalition and Fund the Formula campaign are members of this panel as well, including: Dr. Carmen Ayala, Superintendent, Berwyn North School District; Bill Curtin, Educator, Carbondale Community High School; Dr. Nakia Hall, Board Member, Crete-Monee School District 201-U; Jessica Handy, Government Affairs Director, Stand for Children Illinois; Ralph Martire, Executive Director, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability; Brian Minsker, President, Illinois PTA; and Gary Tipsord, Superintendent, LeRoy CUSD.
The first meeting took place at the Illinois State Board of Education in Springfield. State Superintendent Tony Smith conveyed that the main goal of the PRP is to complete a study of the entire Evidence Based Funding (EBF) model, assessing whether it is meeting adequacy targets set for each district within five years of implementation. The vast majority of districts in Illinois remain well below adequate funding levels. In addition, the PRP will review and recommend changes to EBF in one-, three-, and five-year periods.
During the meeting, members appointed Dr. Michelle Mangan of Concordia University the PRP chair and Susan Griffin, President of the Illinois Association of School Business Officials, the co-chair. The panel established four subcommittees on topics including: early childhood, equity issues tied to race, regional safe schools and college and career readiness.
The agenda, a full list of members, and the presentation used to review the EBF model can all be found here. The next meeting of the PRP will be Sept. 18 at 10 a.m.