CHICAGO (AP) — A top Democrat says inequity in Illinois’ school funding formula is the “defining crisis of our time” and an overhaul is a top priority.
Senate President John Cullerton told the City Club of Chicago on Monday the current calculation is unfair for penalizing high poverty districts.
He says there’s little disagreement Illinois’ roughly 20-year-old formula needs an overhaul. However, timing is an issue, especially with a months-long budget gridlock.
Republican legislators have said they want to shelve the issue for now. But Cullerton says it’s part of a “turnaround” Illinois needs, which is a reference to Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, who calls his priorities the Turnaround Agenda.
Currently, schools receive state aid to offset basic education costs through a formula factoring in poverty. However, districts also get grants based on the number of students in certain programs.