Will Illinois school aid formula get a makeover?

April 18, 2014 

People in Illinois hear a lot about schools not getting enough funding from the state, but not much about an effort afoot in Springfield to develop a fairer way to distribute the money.

Whether Senate Bill 16, the School Funding Reform Act, can achieve such fairness is still a big question mark. But certainly the goal of creating a simple, straightforward and equitable means of distributing state money to schools is a worthy goal. We know that the current state aid formula is none of those things.

Republicans worry that the changes are intended to benefit Chicago at the expense of downstate schools. We don't want to see that happen. However, remember that anytime a new way is devised to divvy up a pot of money, there will be winners and losers.

The state is running tests to compare funding under the proposed state aid formula with what districts receive now. Those numbers are expected to be released in mid May. Stay tuned.

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