ROCKFORD - Illinois legislators met with Winnebago and Boone County superintendents Monday to discuss potential funding reform for public schools.
Hononegah High School Superintendent, Lynn Gibson flips through pages of notes on a potential bill that could cut back on her schools precious funding. “What we understand right now is that state is looking at putting more funds into the general state aid based on poverty levels and other factors.” Said Gibson.
That would be Illinois Senate Bill 16, which could potentially take funding away from schools like Hononegah High School, and redistribute those funds to schools that are struggling. State Senator, Steve Stadelman said “School districts that have high poverty levels and low property values tend to be hurt by the current formula and we want to make sure that we make the system more fair for school districts across the state.”
Gibson said her schools are already behind a half of a million dollars in state funding since 2009. “We depend on everything that we receive whether it’s from local funding state or federal, we would have to bring it back to the district and analyze it and then make some decisions about it.” Said Gibson
Although schools like Honenegah could see funding cuts, Rockford Public schools could actually benefit. Due to Senate Bill 16 requirements, which offer more funding for areas that have high poverty rates.
The potential formula would distribute .92 cents of every state dollar invested in K-12 education in a way that has the interest of the student’s education not economic stance in mind. “Where a child lives should not determine the education they get, so that is what the state is looking at to correct with the new system.” Said Senator Stadelman.
This is not the first time lawmakers have considered a new formula to fund schools and Gibson says her funds will not impact student education. “We need to make sure that we are ready to educate them no matter what is happening at the federal level in Springfield, or another area, we have to continue to educate them.”
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