Illinois Schools Chief Says It's 'The Year Of Figuring It Out' For New Education Reforms

Oct 5, 2017

Illinois State Superintendent Tony Smith looks on as Illinois State Board of Education CFO Robert Wolfe discusses the new school funding formula.
Credit Guy Stephens/ WNIJ

The Illinois legislature passed a new school funding formula this summer. The state’s public schools chief says there’s a lot left to be done to make it work.  

State Superintendent Tony Smith said the new law is a tremendous opportunity.

“[It’s] a model that really moves resources to the kids that need it the most,” he said. “So there’s a fundamental shift toward equity.”     

Deciding out how to implement it, though, is a big effort. There’s also a federal education law the state must bring on line as well:

“So we’ve got two events,” Smith said. “The evidence-based funding and the Every Student Succeeds Act approved, and we have a year to figure out how it’s actually going to work together.”

Smith said the goal is to have a workable system and hard numbers to take to the legislature for the next state education budget.

Smith said all the work is worth it because it will lead to better outcomes for students in Illinois schools.