COLUMBIA, IL – Educators from around southern Illinois met Wednesday night to discuss the future of funding for education in the state.
Most people at the meeting think the answer to the problem is Senate Bill 1 which has passed the House and the Senate and is currently headed to the Governor’s desk.
For the past two-year Illinois has passed temporary stop gap budgets and schools have not been getting the full amount from the state, but educators say the problem in funding education in Illinois goes back further than that.
They said for years the state has been using a formula to fund education where the state contributes a small percentage of money and the local community funds the majority of the school district. So, the school districts in affluent areas are doing very well while the districts in areas with lower incomes are suffering.
Advance Illinois is a group that is an independent, objective voice for the Illinois public education system. They think that SB1 gives schools a budget and a formula to fund education. They said the new formula is based on three main principals.
“Looking at closing funding gaps between wealthier and low-income districts, districts not losing any money so every district keeps the money they have from the year before, and looking at driving dollars to the neediest districts in the state first,” said Bob Dolgan the Communications Director for Advance Illinois.