Funding bill would help downstate Illinois schools - Fox 2 News Headlines

Funding bill would help downstate Illinois schools

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

State lawmakers have advanced legislation that revises a proposal to overhaul the way Illinois schools receive funding.

A Senate committee approved the amendment Wednesday on a 10-3 vote.

The proposed new formula would actually cut the amount of state aid to Chicago Public Schools by two per cent -- about $28 million.

Suburban Chicago school districts would also see major cuts to state aid while downstate schools would see gains.

The state board of education released a preliminary estimate Wednesday of the impact of legislation sponsored by state Sen. Andy Manar. The Bunker Hill Democrat's plan would require districts to demonstrate need before receiving money.

Schools in the suburbs of Evanston and Skokie would see an 85 percent decrease in general state aid under the plan. But Pekin schools in central Illinois would see a 30 percent increase in funds.

Glenbrook South High School's District 225, for example, would lose 69.9% of its current state funding -- a cut of nearly $1.9 million.

Oak Park's Elementary District 97 would lose 91% -- a cut of $9.4 million.

On the other hand, Joliet Central High's District 204 would get an extra 19% -- a boost of $1.7 million.

Some of the biggest winners are downstate in areas devastated by factory closings. Aid to East Alton District 13 would jump 54% -- $1.7 million. Near the Kentucky border, Egyptian District 5 would get an extra 44% -- $1.3 million.

Manar says the plan creates more equity across rich and poor districts.

But Republicans say the proposal puts problems on the backs of the suburbs.

One very high-ranking state official told FOX 32 News Wednesday night the new funding formula will have to be "substantially modified" to have any chance of approval by the General Assembly.

“Chicago Public Schools supports creating an equitable funding formula for students across the state to have the resources they need to excel in the classroom. Illinois is already last among all states in state education funding, and under this model, CPS would have lost $28 million in funding, a cut in funding which would have hit our classrooms. CPS will continue to work closely with the legislature on this bill and on meaningful pension reform to direct more resources to our classrooms and our children,” said District Spokesman Joel Hood.

The measure is SB16.

To find out if your district will be gaining or losing money, go HERE and look under the column "Change with SB16 compared to Disbursements."

MORE INFORMATION

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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