Big School Funding Bill Now Down To The Little Things

Mar 22, 2018

Credit Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

An obscure, technical bit of legislation could make a big difference for some of the state’s youngest students. It’s meant to tie up all the loose ends on the massive school funding reform lawmakers approved last August. This cleanup bill contains more than a dozen changes, plus language that would fund bilingual education for students in pre-kindergarten classes. All it needs is the signature of Governor Bruce Rauner.


Without that?


“I heard from one school district that for her, it meant a whole teacher and a whole classroom of early education funding that she would not have,” says Sylvia Puente, executive director of the Latino Policy Forum, which has advocated for the measure.

She estimates the total cost at about $3 million.


“So while a few million may not be a huge number in the aggregate, when you break down what it means for schools, especially smaller school districts that have not historically had equitable school funding, it certainly makes a difference to being able to provide quality education services for students.”

The new funding law, approved last summer, is designed to distribute state dollars based on each district's unique combination of resources and needs.