Illinois Senate Approves School Funding Plan, Gov. Rauner Says He'll Sign It

The Illinois Senate is advancing the education funding reform compromise.

The bill restructures how money is paid out to districts, aiming for a more equitable system.

Senator Andy Manar of Bunker Hill sponsored the measure.

"We will fund those schools fairly for the first time in decades. There will not be another generation of students that are subjected to inequity, the worst in the country, after this bill becomes law."

Lawmakers have tried for decades to overhaul a school funding formula that's considered the least equitable in the U.S.

Under the new plan, the state will determine how much money each district needs to adequately educate its students, taking into consideration the number who live in poverty or who need special education services. The state then looks at how much money the district is able to generate from property taxes, and directs state aid first to districts that need the most money to reach their per-student spending target.

Governor Bruce Rauner is thanking lawmakers for passing what he calls historic education reform and says he will quickly sign the bill.

School superintendents across Illinois are giving the school funding overhaul mixed reviews.

The plan that will increase aid to all of the state's districts also includes a proposal to give tax credits to people who donate to private school scholarships.

Superintendent Edwin Shoemate runs the Cobden School District. He says he's enthusiastic about the bipartisan compromise and his district will get roughly $180,000 more under the plan. That means roughly three more teachers and reinstating art for elementary schools.

But, he and other superintendents don't like the private school tax-credit program.

Superintendent Andrea Evers of the Cairo School District says talk of private school scholarship strays from the mission of addressing a public-school funding problem.