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School Funding Plan Gets Bipartisan Support By Illinois Lawmakers

Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

Lawmakers of both parties -- and even Gov. Bruce Rauner -- agree that Illinois doesn't fund schools in an equitable manner.


But a bill that would overhaul the way Illinois funds public schools passed a procedural hurdle Wednesday with bipartisan support.


State Sen. Andy Manar, D- Bunker Hill, is sponsoring a bill designed to achieve more equity among school districts. His proposal won approval from a House committee -- but on the condition that it will be held for further changes. 


After the vote, Homewood State Rep. Will Davis, also a Democrat, said that change would pertain to Chicago Public Schools.


"I appreciate what Chicago is to the state of Illinois economically and otherwise,” he said, “but you know my job is the entire state of Illinois; it's not just Chicago."


Davis, a Democrat from suburban Homewood, is the sponsor of a similar school funding bill that is somewhat less-generous to Chicago. 


"They just, in my opinion, they just want a bucket of money,” he said, “and it's just not possible to do so, and certainly not at the expense of helping students in the rest of the state."


The main difference between the two proposals is that Manar's includes payment for Chicago teacher pensions, and Davis's doesn't.


Chicago is the only school district in Illinois that is responsible for its own pensions.


The legislative session is scheduled to end next Wednesday.  

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