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What does SB1 do?
Simply put, SB1 seeks to raise each one of Illinois’ 860-plus school districts to individual adequacy targets – or the amount of money needed to properly educate every student – through increased funding from the state.
It begins by taking into account a district’s local funding capacity and the amount of funding it already receives from the state as a baseline and adds from there over time.
Those targets are calculated by taking into account a given district’s “essential elements” – such as the costs for professional development, class size ratios, technology and about two dozen other items – and their cost of implementation based on demographic differences, along with staff salaries based on regional variation.
“What this does, is it literally generates the resources you need to educate the population you serve,” Center for Tax and Budget Accountability Executive Director Ralph Martire said. “No other funding formula does that.”
Any new state contributions would go first to districts that are furthest from their adequacy targets and SB1 promises that no school district will see a decrease in funding. It ranks districts on a four-tier scale and uses current funding amounts as a baseline starting point before adding new state dollars to those levels going forward.
An analysis of the bill from the education advocacy organization Advance Illinois – which supports the bill – says 85 percent of all money in SB1 will go to districts comprised primarily of low-income students.
Those new dollars would be phased in over the next decade.
“It's a sizable change that everyone in state knows needs to happen,” said state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, the bills' chief sponsor. “It will over time fix inequity, drive resources to districts that are furthest away from where they ought to be, and treat all districts the same.”