SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Education Funding Advisory Board (EFAB) today submitted its regular biennial education funding recommendations to the Illinois General Assembly, in accordance with the Illinois School Code. In its report, EFAB recommends increasing the statutory per-pupil Foundation Level from the current amount of $6,119 to $9,204 for fiscal year 2018. The Foundation Level establishes the mandated minimum per-pupil funding achieved through a mix of state and local funds. Statute requires the State to provide school districts with the difference between the Foundation Level and a district’s local wealth, as calculated by the equalization Formula Grant, in addition to providing the Supplemental Low-Income Grant, based on a district’s percentage of low-income students.
As stated in the report, in 11 of the past 15 years, the State has not met its statutory obligation to fully fund the Foundation Level and the components of the low-income grant, resulting in the State prorating or paying only a portion of the amount owed to districts through their General State Aid claims.
“EFAB renews its commitment to advocating for the state to end its failure to meet its constitutional responsibilities to adequately fund public education,” said Board Chair Sylvia Puente, echoing statements made by EFAB in its report. “Increasing funding for basic education in Illinois will be a challenge, but it is a challenge we ask every policymaker and citizen to embrace. The children of Illinois deserve no less. We ask our policymakers to note that in each of the years that the state has failed to meet its obligations, school districts must continue to meet all of the statutory requirements imposed upon them. This situation should not be allowed to continue.”
EFAB’s recommended increase to the Foundation Level would require $4.6 billion in additional funding in fiscal year 2018, or almost double the current appropriation for public education.
In its report, EFAB acknowledges the efforts of both the General Assembly and Governor Rauner to increase funding in both FY 2016 and FY 2017 and to revise how the state sends funding to districts; yet, EFAB also implores the General Assembly and the Governor to work together to increase the resources available for public education, in order to offer Illinois children the tools they deserve and need to compete in a global economy. The General Assembly and the Governor last adopted the EFAB recommendation in FY 2002. Since then, the increases in the Foundation Level have failed to keep pace with EFAB recommendations. The current Foundation Level of $6,119 has remained the same since FY 2010.
Current members of the Education Funding Advisory Board include Sylvia Puente (executive director of the Latino Policy Forum; Chicago), Sheila Harrison-Williams (superintendent of Hazel Crest School District 152.5; Hazel Crest), Cinda Klickna (president of the Illinois Education Association; Springfield), and Daniel Montgomery (president of the Illinois Federation of Teachers; Westmont). The Board has one vacancy.