October , 2018

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Equitable funding for Illinois schools requires $4.8 billion more in state funds

CHICAGO, IL — After convening last month to begin work on its recommendation for adequate education funding, the Illinois Education Funding Advisory Board (EFAB) voted unanimously to update their recommended Foundation level to reflect inflation.  This would increase the state’s per-pupil Foundation Level to $8,767 for Fiscal Year 2015.  Based on current forecasts of General State Aid (GSA) funding for FY15, this recommended foundation level would require an additional $4.8 billion in state funds for K-12 education.

Additionally, EFAB urges state legislators and Governor Quinn to take action to maintain state revenues for schools and to consider directing more resources to the State Board of Education to distribute to districts.

“The EFAB’s latest recommendation highlights the continued need for greater state funding for education in Illinois,” said State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico.  “Fully funding the foundation level shows we put children and education first and that’s an investment that will pay dividends for generations and for the future of the Illinois economy.”

The committee’s latest recommendation reflects the Employment Cost Index for workers in elementary and secondary schools.  In EFAB’s last report, issued in January 2013, the committee recommended a foundation level of $8,672.  The foundation level is currently statutorily set at $6,119.

“While EFAB recognizes the dire financial position of the State of Illinois, the lack of adequate funding for basic education is a failure of the state’s moral and fiduciary responsibilities,” said Sylvia Puente Chairwoman of EFAB.

The foundation level is the minimum per-pupil funding necessary to adequately educate each public K-12 student in Illinois.  Districts with less local funding are meant to receive greater assistance from the state in order to meet the foundation level.

It is important to note that the state currently fails to fund the already insufficient statutorily set foundation level of $6,119.  This has forced across-the-board proration of district GSA payments for the third consecutive year.  In FY14, which runs July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014, GSA was prorated at 89 percent of the total GSA claim.

State law requires EFAB to provide education funding recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor every two years.  The committee last issued a report in January 2013 and must formally submit its next report by January 2015.

Four members serve on the EFAB: Chairwoman Sylvia Puente, Executive Director of the Latino Policy Forum; Sheila Harrison-Williams, Superintendent of Hazel Crest School District 152.5; Cinda Klickna, President of the Illinois Education Association; and Daniel Montgomery, President of the Illinois Federation of Teachers.  There is one vacancy.

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