As the deadline for a state budget draws near, public school systems are watching closely.
School administrators are concerned about changes to the state funding formula, which determines how money is distributed among the state’s many districts. In the legislature, the debate has been over how money could be shifted to provide more equal levels of funding. However, two superintendents in Northern Illinois think there’s more to the issue. Retired Riverdale Elementary School Superintendent Sarah Willy says it’s impossible to evaluate the formula without full funding.
If they would fund the formula adequately and completely, then see what the problems are with the formula, then it makes sense to look at the formula as a separate entity, but right now, they haven’t even funded the formula as-is,” she says.
Her colleague, Superintendent David Chavira of East Coloma Nelson Elementary, says funding isn’t the only problem.
“Until there’s a new revenue stream, we’re going to keep having the same conversations. It’s just shuffling the money around and reallocating those funds. It’s not really a solution," he said.
The formula directly affects how much districts can spend on students, and for both administrators, a lack of forthcoming funds would make their work much more difficult.