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Joliet-area schools would gain under new school funding formula

6/5/2017, 11:21 a.m.
McGuire: “Finally, our kids’ success would be determined by their effort, not by their zip code.”

High-poverty school districts, shortchanged for decades under Illinois’ worst-in-the-nation education funding formula, could see a significant influx of funding to level the playing field with wealthier suburban districts under a landmark school funding reform measure that passed in both houses of the legislature this week.

“Fair funding for K-12 schools would be a huge step forward for Illinois,” said State Sen. Pat McGuire. “There’s been support for this in Will County ever since The Herald-News and I presented standing-room-only town hall meetings on school funding reform in 2004. Senate Bill 1 means kids would have an equal chance to succeed based on their effort rather than being shortchanged from the start because of their zip code. I urge Gov. Rauner to sign this measure into law as soon as he receives it.”

Senate Bill 1 received support from thousands of school administrators, superintendents, principals, educators, taxpayers and advocates for fair school funding. It would be the first adjustment to the state’s school funding formula in more than 20 years. Currently Illinois labors under a system considered one of the worst in the nation because of its disproportionate reliance on local property wealth.

An analysis of Illinois State Board of Education figures this week by Funding Illinois’ Future – a coalition that advocates for school funding reform – shows potential funding increases for local school districts under Senate Bill 1. Factors such as a school district’s numbers of students with disabilities, English language learners and low-income students figure into the funding model.

The legislation also provides extra support for the neediest districts and offers property tax relief. Under the legislation, no school district would receive less funding under Senate Bill 1 than they have received under Illinois’ current school funding formula.

The estimated overall gain some area school districts would experience under the Funding Illinois’ Future analysis of SB1 based on FY17 funding levels:

DISTRICT BY DISTRICT BREAKDOWN SCHOOL DISTRICT OVERALL GAINS

Chaney-Monge School District 88 $248,024

Channahon School District 17 $1,452

Elwood School District 203 $16,451

Fairmont School District 89 $30,995

Joliet School District 86 $8,771,220

Joliet Township High School District 204 $1,647,796

Laraway School District 70c $628

Lockport School District 91 $22,208

Lockport Township High School District 205 $98,640

Rockdale School District 84 $420

Taft School District 90 $92,870

Union School District 81 $144

Valley View Community Unit School District 365u $1,605,368

Will County School District 92 $1,954

Woodridge School District 68 $90,416

Data based on figures from Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Department of Human Services, and Advance Illinois. Model assumes a $200 million Property Tax Relief Fund. Numbers reflect an FY17 simulation.