The challenges of trying to change the state's school funding formula

May 22, 2014

An Illinois state senator is hoping to change how state money is distributed to school districts. IPR'S Tony Arnold reports why it’s been such a controversial proposal.

Democratic State Senator Andy Manar from Central Illinois is proposing an entirely new way for schools to qualify for state money. He says a new formula is needed to keep up with current realities. Manar says he has one particular goal with his bill.

"That we appropriately account for the growing rate of poverty in the state and its effect on what it costs to educate a child that lives in poverty. We don’t do that today," says Manar.

But Manar has had to rewrite his proposal a few times in recent months because he’s trying to please districts that could see less state money. A Senate committee approved an amendment to Manar’s bill to cap how much an individual district could actually lose.

Some Republicans have criticized the plan for helping Chicago Public Schools. But that district would lose 28-million dollars under Manar’s proposal.

The bill still needs the approval of the full Senate.