School Funding In Jeopardy

Those extra state funds that Illinois school districts thought were on their way are in jeopardy now that Governor Rauner has issued an amendatory veto to the bill that provided the money.

Rauner wants private schools, not recognized by the Illinois State Board of Education, to be eligible for public funds given in the scholarship program.

Bond County Unit 2 Superintendent Wes Olson said the state board of education was calculating the extra funds for districts, assuming the bill would be approved by the governor.

He talked to WGEL about the situation, noting it delays the process of distributing the new tier money that was part of the new evidence-based model. Under that model, schools moved away from general state aid, which becomes “the base funding minimum”. That is money the district received last year.

The $350 million in tier money is what is now being held up. Olson said Unit 2 is considered a “tier 1” school, based on need. Tier 1 schools were set to receive a majority of the tier money. The superintendent said it is disheartening that the veto will have a negative impact on needy districts.

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The legislation now goes back to the Illinois Senate and House. Legislators are scheduled to return to Springfield at the end of the month.