Illinois Lawmaker Calls for School Funding Formula Change

Published February 5, 2016

Illinois State Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) called on his fellow lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) to reform the public education system’s funding practices.

In a January 26 speech before the City Club of Chicago, Cullerton said he wants to make rewriting the state’s school funding formula a part of a budget compromise with Rauner. Cullerton says the way Illinois funds its public schools is the defining crisis of our time.

City vs. Rest of State

Cullerton told the crowd the current funding formula results in an underfunding of the Chicago Public Schools.

Illinois state Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) told Illinois News Network Chicago already gets more than its fair share of tax dollars and that homeowners in her suburban district are leaving because they’re tired of paying for CPS with ever-higher property taxes.

“As a suburban legislator, I remain open to working with the Democrats to fix our archaic school funding formula,” said state Rep. Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs) in a press release. “At the same time, I hope this means Democratic leadership is now ready to work with us on other structural reforms to put Illinoisans back to work and to bring the budget impasse to a close.”

Unequal Funding

“The Democrat-majority-controlled state government for more than 10 years ignored school funding reform, other than to create special deals for Chicago Public Schools,” said Sen. Christine Radogno (R-Lemont). “The most recent proposal again advantaged Chicago, at the expense of suburban school districts.”

Even though less than half of Illinois’ students are ready for college when they graduate, state funding for schools in Illinois has grown by more than 5 percent every year since 1994.

Cole Lauterbach ([email protected]) is a reporter for the Illinois News Network, a project of the Illinois Policy Institute. An earlier version of this article first appeared at Reprinted with permission.

The photo “Illinois State Capitol pano” is copyright © 2009 Daniel Schwen, and was made available under aunder the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license. license.