On Thursday, August 31, Governor Rauner signed senate bill 1947 into law. Public Act 100-0465, the Invest in Kids Act, is a historic victory for kids across the state. The law establishes a long overdue evidence-based model for the distribution of state funds to public schools. The new law is designed to deliver funds based upon need. Experts agree, it is no doubt a much better model.
Projections indicate Williamsfield Schools will receive about $300 more from the state this fiscal year than we were projected to receive in FY17. Although Williamsfield Schools funding gain is minimal, I am a strong supporter of the equity this model provides. The gap between rich and poor school districts will become less distinct.
On behalf of Williamsfield Schools, I would like to thank Senator Chuck Weaver and Representative Dan Swanson for their leadership on this issue. Both legislators remained very responsive to district/area concerns throughout the school funding crisis. Every step of the way they conducted the research and sought the perspectives necessary to cast informed votes on behalf of our district/area.
Although I don’t agree with all aspects of the new law, I respect the ideological compromise that was reached. It’s also nice to know the evidence-based formula is fully funded this fiscal year. However, to provide Illinois public schools the stability they deserve, this formula must be FULLY FUNDED EVERY YEAR.
I remain hopeful the state of Illinois will break from its past and depoliticize school funding. I look forward to continual work with Senator Weaver, Representative Swanson, and Governor Rauner's office as they help move Illinois forward in the best interest of kids and schools.