The Illinois State Senate is trying to pass a secret school funding formula bill.
Senate Bill 1 is now an empty shell bill waiting for an amendment that will be adopted on the floor of the state Senate without any committee hearing on it, and without input from the public on the specific wording of that amendment.
Illinois needs a good school funding formula, not just a new one.
The Rauner commission recommended a supposedly evidence-based system based on 27 elements that would improve Illinois schools.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to Belleville News-Democrat
Some of the 27 were based on successful efforts in other schools, but some were not.
And to get new state funds local school districts would have to do none of the 27.
As someone has said, it is like saying if you do X, you get Y, but you do not have to do X.
As an example, for special education, the recommended formula of one position for 141 general education students is based on a study done for the state of Vermont that even Vermont rejected.
Special education funding needs to be related to the need for special education, and not based on a fixed number of general education students.
The need for special education varies widely among Illinois school districts based on concentrated poverty, parental drug use, environmental factors including lead poisoning, premature births, stress in daily living, the family/guardian situation, etc. (and all of these are heading in the wrong direction).
There is no magic school funding formula, but there are good ones and bad ones.
Bev Johns, Jacksonville