Gov. Bruce Rauner reaffirmed his commitment to reforming the current school funding formula Tuesday by creating the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission.
“Education is the most important thing we do as a society, but Illinois has failed to adequately and equitably fund schools for years,” Rauner said. “We should put more money into our schools and focus resources to the students that need them the most. Today we are ensuring the bipartisan momentum to reform our school funding formula does not fade away.”
The commission’s sole task is to recommend a comprehensive solution to reform the school funding formula. The report is due to the governor and General Assembly by Feb. 1 in order for the General Assembly to take action in 2017 General Session.
The commission will include five designees from the administration and each of the legislative leaders. Secretary of Education Beth Purvis will be one of the governor’s designees and will serve as the commission’s chairperson. In addition, Illinois State Board of Education Chairman the Rev. James Meeks will serve as a liaison between the state education board and the commission.
“Ensuring our schools are properly funded in an adequate and equitable way will only improve outcomes for Illinois children,” Purvis said. “I’m honored to chair this commission and join legislators who are equally as motivated to find a solution to make our school funding formula more equitable.”
“Our children deserve the best education possible, but the way in which we currently fund schools is broken,” state Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) said. “We must take action now, before a generation of students lose the opportunity to receive a world class education that will equip them to compete in this global economy. I believe the leadership of the governor and his administration — in concert with bipartisan, bicameral legislative participation and input from stakeholders — is what will allow this effort to finally be successful.”
“Our schools are funded but our formula remains unfair and outdated,” state Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) said. “Together, Democrats and Republicans need to move quickly to come to consensus and recognize a better way and make our state a national example of how school funding should be done.”
The governor's other selections to the commission are:
- Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti
- Secretary of the Department of Human Services James Dimas
- Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Jennifer Hammer
- Jodi Scott, regional superintendent of schools for Henderson, Knox, Mercer and Warren counties