Educating Illinois: A Look at the Evidence-Based Funding Formula
Release: March 8, 2023
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.
The Impact of Underfunding the Evidence-Based Funding Formula
Release: June 24, 2020
Beginning in 2017, Illinois decision makers replaced one of the least-equitable K-12 public education funding formulas in the country with the Evidence-Based Funding for Student Success Act, or EBF. The EBF commits to implementing best practice in school funding by investing a year-to-year increased Minimum Target Level of $300 million each fiscal year. Illinois met the Minimum Target Level for increased year-to-year state funding of K-12 education in each of the first three fiscal years—FY 2018, 2019, and 2020—during which the EBF was implemented. That streak now stands to be broken, however, as the FY 2021 General Fund Budget, which recently passed, does not increase K-12 funding under the EBF, but rather holds it level with FY 2020.
The Impact of Underfunding the Evidence-Based Funding Formula report analyzes the steps the EBF takes when the Minimum Target Level is not satisfied and how limited or no new Tier funding would impact districts by Tier, income level, race, and geography. The report also analyzes how state funding would be allocated if the state is unable to hold funding level with the prior fiscal year, resulting in a reduction in funding for the EBF.
Potential Impact of a Property Tax Freeze on School Funding
Release: May 13, 2020
Illinois’ overreliance on property taxes is a result of historic shift of funding K-12 Education from the state-level to the local-level. While many would benefit from a temporary property tax freeze, there are also costs associated with a property tax freeze—particularly when it comes to funding an adequate education for millions of Illinois school children. A property tax freeze could pose substantial costs to students across the state by limiting the amount of funding districts could receive compared to the current law in which there is no property tax freeze. Using 2019 Illinois Report Card and average year-to-year growth in: (i) K-12 funding under the EBF; (ii) property tax revenue; and (iii) funding of mandated categoricals, the short report, Potential Impact of a Property Tax Freeze on School Funding, highlights some of those consequences that a property tax freeze could have, not only on school funding, but along racial lines, as well.