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Illinois Lawmakers Reveal Details Of School Funding Proposal

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

New information about Illinois senate Republicans’ school funding plan were revealed Wednesday.

One week after State Sen. Jason Barickman held a press conference to announce his own school funding plan, he filed two amendments totaling 500 pages. Barickman’s plan echoes many of the themes contained in a measure filed by his Democratic colleague Andy Manar but eliminates the block grant for Chicago Public Schools?.

His plan also offers school districts a choice about certain unfunded mandates. The two senators had tried previously to craft a bipartisan plan.

Does this separate filing signal trouble? Diane Rutledge, director of the Large Unit District Association, representing more than half of all school children in Illinois, doesn’t think so. 

“They’re not miles apart. All the same ingredients are in there," she said. "It’s just the detail. But they both care greatly, and that’s good for education. To really have legislators that are passionate about this I think is a good thing.”

Illinois currently has the most inequitable school funding formula in the nation because it relies heavily on property taxes.

A similar plan with bipartisan support is moving through the Illinois House of Representatives.

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