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Superintendents are Digging Manar's Reform for Education Funding

Updated: Friday, May 9 2014, 10:10 AM CDT

In numbers released by the State Board of Education yesterday, it's clear that in a school funding formula up for a senate vote, downstate districts would win the most while suburban areas would take larger hits.

So it's no surprise the downstate superintendents were the ones coming out in support today at the Capitol.

Among them were superintendents from Jacksonville, Taylorville, Decatur and of course Springfield.

Springfield District 186 would see $2.6 million bump under the new formula.

That's about 5.9% more than the 2013 fiscal year.

For a district that just had to make 5.5 million in cuts, it's not the ultimate fix, but it helps.

"You know, I hate that any type of funding formula has to have any type of winner and loser. That's not what you want to see in education. But we have kind of a unique opportunity...uh in Springfield. So many of our buildings are actually non-taxable because they're Statehouse buildings such as the one we're standying in today. We also have about 61% low-income in our city, so we're facing a lot of challenges that those districts don't face."

Not every area school district will be so lucky.

Under the proposed formula, Chatham would lose nearly a tenth of its state funding and Rochester would lose less than 1%.

The downstate superintendents say the current formula has an equity problem and this is long overdue.

One of the bill's biggest critics, Matt Murphy, a republican senator whose districts would all lose more than three quarters of their state funding, said the proposal places the burden on suburban districts.

Some of the other local superintendents are also pleased with the senate bill. According to the most recent draft, Urbana could get a 53% increase, roughly $4 million according to the superintendent.

"That change in the formula provides more money to districts like Urbana, which is a small urban district with almost close to 7-% free and reduced lunch students, and that would provide us with more funding and it would, as I said before, it would help reduce some of the burden off of property tax."

Rantoul school districts could get more than 30% more, Danville 17% more, and Charleston almost 6%.

The Champaign Unit 4 schools, however, could see a decrease in funding. A little over 6%.

Superintendents are Digging Manar's Reform for Education Funding

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