School Funding | WGLT

School Funding

Barry Hitchins
Carleigh Gray / WGLT

The sales pitch that Unit 5 leaders hope to make to taxpayers later this year began to take shape Monday, as district officials sketched out the need for a community task force—and possibly a consultant—that could lobby the public for passage of a revenue-raising referendum.

Unit 5 Superintendent Mark Daniel
Staff / WGLT

The Unit 5 school board that will be elected this spring will face some unpleasant policy choices.

Rich Saal / The State Journal-Register (pool)

One of the biggest changes Gov. Bruce Rauner proposed in Wednesday's budget address is making local school districts bear the costs of teacher pensions.

Seth Perlman / The Associated Press

There has been another high-level departure from Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

A wide-reaching overhaul of the way Illinois funds schools has been signed into law.

Senator Jason Barickman on the Senate floor.
Seth Perlman / AP

The Illinois Senate has approved a new system for funding schools that will reduce large disparities between wealthy and poor districts.

Illinois Senate To Take Up School Funding Overhaul

Aug 29, 2017
John O'Connor / The Associated Press

The Illinois Senate on Tuesday is expected to take up a school funding overhaul that will increase aid to all of the state's more than 800 districts.

Mike Madigan walks
Seth Perlman / AP

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

Legislative leaders Thursday announced a tentative compromise on the thorny issue of school funding, but opposition is mounting to one part of that deal.

Republican Bill Brady on the Senate floor
Courtesy / Sen. Brady's Office

Illinois' legislative leaders said Thursday they've reached a tentative agreement in the state's school funding fight, but details are still being worked out.

Superintendents, Mayors Push For School Funding Fix

Aug 23, 2017
John O'Connor / The Associated Press

School superintendents from central and southern Illinois are pushing lawmakers to reach an agreement on overhauling the state's school funding formula.

Barickman on the Senate floor

While the just-passed budget deal appropriates just a half year of funding for most government services, schools get a full year.

Senate Democrats lost their battle to rewrite the state’s inequitable funding formula – the current method Illinois uses to fund schools will stay in place. That pleased Bloomington Republican State Senator Jason Barickman, who had backed an "evidence-based" funding model.

Ralph Weisheit

The Unit 5 School Board has agreed to borrow 3.5 million dollars to buy school buses instead of rent them. Unit 5 Business Manager Marty Hickman says Unit 5 is currently running 154 buses. 61 of those are rented. 

Heartland Community College
Staff / WGLT

  Heartland Community College is among several higher education schools suffering from a lack of state funding. The state eventually covered Heartland’s MAP grants, which help low-income students pay for classes and books. Yet the college’s base operating grants, which help keep the college running on a daily basis, have received little to no money. Heartland’s Vice President of Business Services Doug Minter said the college has only received 22 percent of the funding they need.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

A bipartisan group of lawmakers known as the Budgeteers has forwarded a draft of an outline of a spending plan to the Governor and legislative leaders. It includes spending cuts and revenue increases, but not Governor Bruce Rauner's proposed reforms to the structure of state government.

Alan Levine / Creative Commons

Illinois’ school funding formula relies heavily on property taxes. That leaves districts with low land values to make do with about six thousand dollars per student each year, while districts with thriving businesses can spend up to five times that amount.

What Constitutes Effective Charitable Giving?

Dec 17, 2015
Princeton Public Library

'Tis the season for giving. How can you be sure your charitable donations are really being useful? Princeton University philosophy professor Peter Singer lays out a strategy for what he calls "effective altruism." His ideas are being hailed in some circles, but causing controversy in others. WGLT's Judy Valente first reported this story for PBS-TV's "Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly."

IL Wins $42 million Charter Schools Grant

Oct 1, 2015

Illinois has won a federal grant to open scores of new charter schools. As IPR Education Desk reporter Dusty Rhodes reports, it’s worth more than $42 million.

Among the many political battles that have raged in Springfield since the election of Governor Bruce Rauner, one difficult battle has fallen off the radar. The fight for a new school funding formula has been pushed to the wayside as the state operates without a budget for a third month, and Springfield's top politicians talk over each other. But US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan says Illinois would be better off overhauling the formula sooner rather than later: