SB 1 house hearingSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) testified before an Illinois House committee Tuesday, outlining details of his need-based school funding reform package, Senate Bill 1.

“It’s important to start this conversation early so representatives can educate themselves and their constituents about the need for better school funding. We had some marathon meetings in the Senate last year, but this was the first formal conversation we’ve had in the House,” Manar said.

Manar discussed the updates to last year’s proposal and answered questions from the House Elementary and Secondary Education Appropriations Committee.

Rep. Will Davis (D- Hazel Crest) chairs the committee and is sponsoring Manar’s proposal in the House.

“Senator Manar has put tremendous effort into moving this conversation forward. As Appropriations chair and House sponsor, I believe that education funding is still the most important issue facing schools in Illinois,” Davis said.

Illinois’ existing funding system assigns only 44 percent of state funding to school districts based on need. Manar’s proposal bases over 90 percent of funding on need and consolidates the existing patchwork of grants under a single transparent formula.

Manar introduced a similar proposal last April, which passed the Senate but was not debated in the House.

Manar reintroduced the proposal as SB 1 this year and included updates based on statewide input from educators, taxpayers and parents.

These changes include measures to account for regional workforce costs, a more accurate way of measuring poverty, improved funding for bilingual students and additional funding to districts with higher-than-average rates of students with special education needs.

The updated proposal also speeds up a study to determine the base level of funding needed for student growth, and it protects districts from losses that are not spending adequately.

Senate Bill 1 is still in the Senate, where it requires committee approval before a vote of the full chamber. Tuesday’s House hearing was a preliminary meeting focusing on SB 1.

Category: School Funding Reform

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