Despite a standstill over the Illinois budget, a group of bipartisan lawmakers has been meeting more often in recent weeks to devise a plan to overhaul state funding for public schools.
Although Illinois' top leaders aren't meeting to discuss the state budget, members of Gov. Bruce Rauner's education funding reform commission tell the Springfield Bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers they're optimistic that the group will be able to come up with at least outlines of a new school funding formula.
Republican state Sen. Jason Barickman says that if reform is going to happen, the group, and ultimately the Legislature, must come to a consensus on complex issues, such as property taxes and achieving parity among school districts.
Rauner set a Feb. 1 deadline for the group to complete its work when he announced its formation in July.