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House Expected To Get First Look At School Funding Plan

Mike Madigan walks
Seth Perlman
House Speaker Michael Madigan, a Chicago Democrat.

Illinois legislative leaders say they're still working out final details of a plan to fund the state's public schools.

Bipartisan leaders have been meeting behind closed doors for days, with the Illinois House expected to get a first look at the plan Monday when they convene.

Few details have been publicly released aside from Republicans saying it increases funding for districts and contains a proposal to provide tax credits for those who donate to private school scholarships. Republicans are calling it a "win-win" but Democrats declined to comment after a two-hour Sunday meeting at the Capitol.

Schools have already missed two payments from the state, so pressure is building to figure out how to fund them in a way that makes both political parties happy. Or at least not unhappy.

That's the gist of what House Republican leader Jim Durkin from Western Springs said after spending his Sunday afternoon negotiating behind closed doors.

"It's time for everyone, if they have minor objections, look at the goal. Who gets hurt? No one gets hurt, everyone succeeds under this. Every student in Illinois is going to be a beneficiary of what we have to come to a conclusion in," Durkin said.

The budget lawmakers approved last month requires a new formula for schools to get money. Both parties agree the 20-year-old calculation Illinois currently uses is unfair, but they can't agree on an overhaul.

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