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Education Desk
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Education Desk
The Education Desk is our education blog focusing on key areas of news coverage important to the state and its improvement. Evidence of public policy performance and impact will be reported and analyzed. We encourage you to engage in commenting and discussing the coverage of education from pre-natal to Higher Ed.Dusty Rhodes curates this blog that will provide follow-up to full-length stories, links to other reports of interest, statistics, and conversations with you about the issues and stories.About - Additional Education Coverage00000179-2419-d250-a579-e41d385d0000

School Funding Plan Now Heads To Gov

Kimberly Lightford, Will Davis, and Andy Manar
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS
State Sen. Kimberly Lightford hugs Rep. Will Davis while Sen. Andy Manar Looks on. The three Democrats have spent a significant part of their legislative careers trying to change the way Illinois funds education.

The Illinois legislature on Tuesday approved a major, bipartisan overhaul of the way Illinois funds public education.

Illinois' current school funding formula dates back to 1997. And efforts to replace it with something more logical, more fair, and more equitable? To hear lawmakers tell it, those also date back almost 20 years.

State Senator Andy Manar, a Democrat from Bunker Hill, has been leading the charge since 2013. And even though the bill that finally won approval had a few things he didn't like and missed a few things he did, he's counting it as a win.

"All along the way, especially toward the end of this debate, we knew this was a moment we had to grab and not let go of," he said.


Backers are calling it a landmark reform. It would focus state spending on areas with more students in poverty — though no school district would get less funding than it does today. The legislation would also create a tax credit — demanded by Republicans — for donating to a new private school scholarship program.

Democratic State Senator Kimberly Lightford, from Chicago, says the change has been a long time in coming.

“This is what compromise looks like,” she said. “This is it. A bill that none of us like — at 100 percent.”

With today’s vote in the state Senate, all that remains is for Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign the bill into law, which he has said he’ll do.

The governor has said he will sign the school funding bill into law.


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