After six years of implementation, five of which included new year-over-year funding, Illinois’ school funding formula – the Evidence Based Funding for Student Success Act, or EBF – has worked towards its promise of closing Illinois’ drastic funding and achievement gaps between schools in property-rich and property-poor districts, as well as between schools in predominantly white communities and schools that serve predominantly students of color. The EBF accomplishes this by distributing new K-12 funding to those districts that are furthest away from having the resources to fund their respective “Adequacy Targets” – which is the amount the research indicates is required to provide the level of education the students they serve need to succeed academically.
The EBF replaced an old formula that was based on a one-size-fits-all “Foundation Level” of per-pupil funding that was both inadequate in amount and inequitable in distribution. Indeed, the state’s historic investment in K-12 has been so inadequate that local property tax revenue became the primary method of funding education. But after six years of the EBF, the formula has proven that it is working as intended to counter historic inequities by investing more at the state level each year, closing Adequacy Funding Gaps for students in every region of the state and of every race and ethnicity.