Last week a controversial bill that would change the school funding formula worked through the committee process in the Illinois Senate. Critics of the legislation have raised concerns that the bill, intended to fund schools, may actually increase the existing school funding disparities it is intended to correct.
Details have emerged in recent days showing that an existing disparity in the way students in poverty are treated across the state would actually be greater under SB 16 than under the current system.
Currently, state funding for a student living in poverty can range from $355 to $2,994 per student by school district. The proposal would actually widen that gap, granting just $15 for students living in poverty in some districts and awarding more than $5,000 for students in other districts.
Although the legislation has its roots in a study from Illinois Senate Republicans the provisions of the bill actually exacerbate many of the inequities identified in that report.