Illinois PTA strongly supported the passage in 2017 of the new Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) formula that directs additional school funding to those districts most in need. As part of that new formula, the legislature committed to increasing school funding by $350 million per year for 10 years.
The results from the first two years of the EBF formula have shown promise, with school districts able to implement new initiatives to better support students. But it’s not just anecdotes that illustrate how the EBF formula is making a difference; it’s in the data as well. At the time of passage in August 2017, 164 school districts in Illinois were below 60% of their Adequacy Target, the amount of money the EBF formula calculates it costs to educate a student. After two years of EBF funding, only 34 districts are below 60% adequacy. There is still a long way to go—over half of Illinois school districts are below 70% adequacy.
A new analysis by Advance Illinois sharpens the issue. At the current level of increasing funding of $350 million per year (of which, the law sets aside $50 million per year for property tax relief), Illinois will never reach even 80% adequate funding, as even the current low rates of inflation overcome the static increases in funding.
Because every child in Illinois deserves an adequately funding education, Illinois is joining with other organizations this week to urge Governor JB Pritzker to increase school funding to a total of $650 million per year in his budget address to the Illinois General Assembly on February 19th. This level of funding will bring all Illinois school districts to adequacy within 15 years.
While bigger increases in school funding would bring districts to adequacy even faster, this request acknowledges three factors:
- New sources of revenue are unlikely to be included in this year’s budget
- Early childhood education still needs additional funding
- Higher education suffered greatly under the two-year budget impasse and needs additional support as well
The new EBF funding formula is working. The districts most in need are getting the most support to bring them to adequate levels of funding, and all districts are maintaining or increasing state funding support. But the current approach will never provide adequate funding for our children’s education unless the funding amount is increased. Join Illinois PTA in calling on the governor to fulfill this promise to Illinois’s children.