Democrats Advancing Budget without Addressing Education Funding Inequity

SPRINGFIELD– State Senator Dave Syverson (R-Rockford) criticized an education budget passed by the Senate Wednesday which does nothing to correct what he calls a “gross inequity” in funding between Chicago Public Schools and downstate schools.

Senate Bill 2555 passed the Senate 40-19. It is the first in a line of budget bills to be voted on in the Senate this week, funding K-12 education in the state for Fiscal Year 2014.

“While I am happy with the fact that after much pressure from downstate school districts, proposed cuts to school transportation was restored,” said Syverson. “But, while costs increase, the flat funding acts like a cut.”

Syverson pointed to a report this spring which outlined the dramatic inequity in funding received by Chicago Public Schools and schools in downstate Illinois. Syverson calls the indifference by the majority party to correct the funding problem “disappointing.”

Numbers provided by the Illinois State Board of Education earlier this year confirmed the inequities, showing that, over a three year average, Chicago Public Schools receives over $2,500 per student in poverty grants, while Rockford Schools receive just under $2,000 per poor student. The difference is even more dramatic in rural districts. DeKalb schools are funded $976 per poor student, Belvidere schools receive $826 per student, and Sycamore receives $424 under the formula.

“If the disparate funding was not occurring in Illinois, our schools would be funded at higher levels. That would give much needed relief to property taxpayers,” said Syverson. 

The balance of the states 2014 budget will be passed over the next 48 hours.

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