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Barickman Promises New School Funding Formula

In a previous legislative session, Sen. Jason Barickman (at the podium) proposed an evidence-based school funding plan with the support of Sen. Andy Manar (right). This session, the two senators have proposed significantly different versions of that plan.
Dusty Rhodes
NPR Illinois file photo

Another effort for overhauling school funding is taking shape in the Illinois legislature. 

Jason Barickman, a Republican senator from Bloomington, says he’s going to introduce three pieces of legislation to tackle the state’s infamous education funding inequity. He describes the first piece as an “evidence-based model," which he believes will be supported by Governor Bruce Rauner.

“Think about something else he said yesterday, in the context of  his criminal justice reforms. In announcing those reforms, the governor embraced an evidence-based model, and that’s what this is,” Barickman said.

When asked how much his plan will cost, he described it as a formula, with no price tag yet determined, but promised no district will lose money.

“The legislation will have a very specific hold-harmless in it," he said, "that will hold districts harmless from the losses that have aggravated many through this dialog.” 

Barickman was referring to critics arguments against another school funding proposal. That plan -- sponsored by Sen. Andy Manar, a Democrat from Macoupin County -- would move funds from wealthier districts to schools with higher levels of poverty. 

Barickman said this is the first of three initiatives he will introduce. Another will lower the cost of providing education, and the third will ensure accountability.


After a long career in newspapers (Dallas Observer, The Dallas Morning News, Anchorage Daily News, Illinois Times), Dusty returned to school to get a master's degree in multimedia journalism. She began work as Education Desk reporter at NPR Illinois in September 2014.