Rezin: Area schools fare better in new compromise education funding legislation
State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) is co-sponsoring a new education funding reform compromise proposal (SB 1124 – Amendment 3) that would financially help every school district across the state in a more equitable way and provide more funding to area schools compared to other legislation at the Statehouse, according to an analysis by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). The ISBE analysis comes after Senate Democrats passed an education funding reform bill (Senate Bill 1) in May that unfairly made Chicago Public Schools (CPS) the priority.
“This proposal gets us away from Chicago being the recipient of a windfall of money, all at the expense of the rest of the state, and moves us to a system that is a fair and balanced approach,” Rezin said. “Our schools and schools across the state fare better under this legislation than Senate Bill 1. Senate Bill 1124 emphasizes students and our future, and it does it in an equitable way.”
“It’s important to note this isn’t a plan that just has Republican ideas in it,” Rezin said. “This is a compromise plan that includes ideas both parties want to see in education funding reform and includes recommendations of the Governor’s bipartisan, bicameral Illinois School Funding Reform Commission, of which I was a member. Schools that rightfully deserve more funding because the current formula works against them and their students are treated better under this approach.”
Senate Bill 1124 uses the same evidence-based approach as Senate Bill 1, which takes into account 27 different variables to set individual adequacy targets for each school district, based on the costs of the district, accepted best practices, and student demographics. Districts would be grouped into four tiers based on how far they are from their adequacy target, with tier one including the schools needing the most help, up to tier four, which contains the schools that already meet or exceed their adequacy targets.
However, Rezin says the analysis conducted by ISBE demonstrates Senate Bill 1124 would provide all school districts with more evidence-based tier funding than the Democrats’ Senate Bill 1. When accounting for both base funding and tier funding, all school districts downstate and in the suburbs would receive more funding through Senate Bill 1124 than under Senate Bill 1. Rezin said as part of the compromise, CPS would receive additional funding in separate legislation which would have the state pick up a share of Chicago teachers’ pensions. Right now, the state doesn’t pick up CPS pensions.
“We all want education funding reform,” Rezin said. “This approach is a compromise between what the Senate Democrats passed, what Republicans want, and what Governor Rauner will sign. My hope is we can get this done during the Special Session which runs through June 30.”
Results of the ISBE analysis for Senate Bill 1124 SFA 3 is available at https://www.isbe.net/Pages/Education-Funding-Proposals.aspx
In addition to being a member of the Education Funding Reform Commission, Rezin is also a member of the Education Committee at the Statehouse.