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Syverson: Real school funding reform compromise finally clears General Assembly

Springfield – Illinois schools may soon be getting their state-aid payments through a more equitable system, according to State Sen. Dave Syverson (R-Rockford), now that bipartisan majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly have approved new school-funding reform legislation.

“The most important thing is that we have a new school funding formula that will for the most part direct money where it is needed most,” said Syverson. “This isn’t a perfect bill, Chicago will continue to get a disproportionate share, but less so than in previous proposals. This is the best compromise possible given the political realities of Illinois.”

Senate Bill 1947 creates an evidence-based model (EBM) that utilizes 27 elements to determine how best to distribute school dollars to ensure that money goes to where it is most needed, based on data and accepted best practices. The legislation also provides significant mandate relief for schools to help save costs, as well as a mechanism to help reduce the burden of sky-high property taxes on families. There is also a component to help create a scholarship fund for low-income students to attend private or out-of-district public schools.

“This final version is clearly better than the original SB1 that passed, which I opposed and which was vetoed by the Governor. At that time I raised concerns that our region could do better than the original bill and in the end we have,” said Senator Syverson.  “There is still more work that needs to done on certain areas that were not addressed in this final legislation, and I am hopeful we can take these issues up soon.”

Senate Bill 1947 is now headed to Gov. Bruce Rauner, who is expected to sign the bill into law.

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