County districts to receive $2.5 million under new funding plan

County districts to receive $2.5 million under new

CARLINVILLE (April 12, 2018) – Macoupin County schools will receive more than $2.5 million in new money under Illinois’ education funding overhaul, initially proposed by Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill.

On Thursday, April 5, the Illinois State Board of Education issued vouchers to State Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza, clearing the way for local school districts to begin receiving money under the new, evidence-based model of funding public schools. The first payments were sent out by Mendoza on Tuesday, April 10.

Evidence-Based Funding became law on Aug. 31, 2017, combining five previous grant programs: General State Aid, Special Education – Personnel, Special Education – Funding for Children Requiring Special Education Services, Special Education – Summer School, and English Learner Education. Under the new system, districts receive the same amounts from each of those five programs again in FY2018 as a “hold harmless” provision. The distribution is based on detailed enrollment figures, district-specific student learning needs, available local resources and other data. Under the new plan, no schools will ever receive less state funding than they do currently.

“The data we have now reinforces what we already knew: that there is astonishing unfairness in how school districts around Illinois are founded,” said Manar. “There are school districts in this state with more than double the amount of resources it should take to educate their particular students, while other school districts have barely half of what they need. It’s been this way for years, and it’s going to come to an end.”

In total, Macoupin County schools will receive $2,549,402.57 in new money. All eight public school districts in the count were categorized as “Tier 1,” meaning they are among the most underfunded districts in the state. Amounts per district range from $50,930.64 for Northwestern CUSD 2 to $679,918.75 for Gillespie CUSD 7.

Manar credited the Illinois State Board of Education staff for their efforts working with the school districts and lawmakers to pull together the necessary data and calculate the distribution amounts in April as promised.

“I would like to thank Senator Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, for his years of work to reform the way schools are funded in Illinois,” said Mendoza in a statement announcing the first payments to the school districts. “I would also like to thank Representative Will Davis, D-Hazel Crest, and dedicated educator across the state for their unwavering commitment to this historic change to K-12 education funding. Illinois schools have waited too long. The governor twice vetoed this relief for schools. I am thrilled the day has finally come for more equitable funding.”

Mendoza will continue to process the payments on the 10th and 20th of April, May and June as vouchered by ISBE. Previous payments in fiscal year 2018 did not include the $395.6 million in additional funding approved by the General Assembly; Mendoza’s office is prepared to make payments through the end of the current fiscal year that will contain all the FY2018 evidence-based funding schools are entitled to under the new formula.

For more information about the new formula and how it will affect school districts, visit isbe.net/ebfdist.