A press release from State Senator Karen McConnaughay:
McConnaughay: Illinois School Funding Reform Commission issues final report
SPRINGFIELD – After five months of meetings, the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission has advanced its final report to Gov. Bruce Rauner, which commission member State Sen. Karen McConnaughay (R-St. Charles) said offers a solid framework from which to approach comprehensive changes to the state’s education funding system.
“While there is more work to do, and difficult decisions must still be made, I’m so pleased with the commission’s progress,” said McConnaughay.
“Together, lawmakers representing both sides of the aisle, from both chambers, worked with the executive branch of government, and took an extremely deep dive into proposed school funding changes.
“Obviously there are outstanding questions that we need to resolve, but this bipartisan, bicameral setting allowed for fruitful discussion and established an excellent basis for our future work on a lasting solution.”
McConnaughay noted that while the Commission did not reach consensus on mandate relief, she stressed this issue isn’t off the table.
“Illinois school districts must adhere to more than 100 ‘unfunded mandates,’ requirements that add up to increased costs for schools, increased bureaucracy and reduced flexibility for administrators and educators,” explained McConnaughay.
“I believe it’s imperative we resume the conversation on mandate relief in the future.
“Giving our school districts some additional discretion and flexibility would not only offer them more financial freedom, it allows them to better serve the needs of their unique student bodies.”
During 18 large group meetings and 13 smaller working group meetings, the bipartisan commission heard from numerous subject-matter experts and advocacy organizations.
McConnaughay noted that while more work is necessary to come to an agreement on education funding legislation, the Commission has advanced a solid comprehensive framework that supports the underlying goal of adequately and equitably funding Illinois schools, while taking into account the different needs of Illinois students.
The Illinois School Funding Reform Commission was created by Gov. Rauner in July 2016 and charged with providing lawmakers with a viable framework for reforming the state’s current school funding formula.
The final report can be found here.