(AP) – Illinois superintendents warned of school closures and staff layoffs as they implored state lawmakers to pass a budget to give them certainty for the fall.
Education funding is the only portion of the budget for the current year that Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner signed.
But, superintendents from districts including Kankakee, Moline, and Streator expressed worry Tuesday that there’s no agreement for next year yet. They say they’ll have to deplete their reserves to open this fall and that some might not make it all year.
Their message came on the same day the Democrat-led Senate passed a major overhaul of the school funding formula they say needs to be more equitable.
The measure’s sponsor Senator Andy Manar says the plan makes sure that state money is distributed based on need, not zip code.
“Our system today is broken, it is rotten. It is not based on any level of recognition of inequity in the state today when it comes to public education. And, it deserves a wholesale change,” said Manar.
Manar’s plan would be phased in over a couple of years. It would mean less money for some schools, and more for others, like Chicago Schools.
Senator Matt Murphy says the whole proposal is designed to help Chicago.
“We have a bill that changes the formula, and gives Chicago Public Schools 24-percent more money in FY 17 than they got in FY 16,” said Murphy.
Gov. Rauner says passing an education budget shouldn’t be stalled by negotiations over the formula.
The measure now moves to the Illinois House.
(Photo: Shutterstock.com-Dave Newman)