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State lawmakers split over school funding plan

2 months, 1 week ago from sj-r.com

For most downstate school districts, the numbers looked pretty good.

For most downstate school districts, the numbers looked pretty good.
Change the formula for the way the state distributes education assistance dollars, and 71 percent would get more money than they do now. That’s the conclusion of the State Board of Education, which analyzed how school districts would fare financially if the state distribution formula were changed.
** See chart outlining school funding changes under the proposed revised formula **
For those schools, it would be a way to begin reversing the cuts they’ve been forced to make in recent years as state aid has shrunk.
However, the debate about changing the school aid formula threatens to reopen regional differences between downstate lawmakers whose schools stand to gain and lawmakers from Chicago and the suburbs whose schools would lose money under the switch.
There’s also no guarantee of support from downstate lawmakers whose districts may include schools that will get more money under the proposal and schools that will lose it.
“I don’t think this makes it any fairer than we have today,” said Sen. Bill Brady, R-Bloomington. “To me, it’s an over-complication of what we have.”
Brady’s Senate district is a case in point. Riverton schools would stand to gain about $1.2 million, a 23 percent increase, according to the Board of Education analysis. At the same time, schools in Clinton, home of a nuclear power plant, would lose more than $1.9 million, or 85 percent of the aid they now receive.
Even within a comparatively small area, the results can be mixed. The Lincoln high school district and the Lincoln elementary school district would both see increases under the revised formula, albeit less than 10 percent in both cases. Chester-East Lincoln and West Lincoln-Broadwell would both see substantial decreases under the change.



Read more: http://www.sj-r.com/article/20140510/News/140519950#ixzz31Psi1xGn


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