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Sen. Barickman Introduces Plan for School Funding

Springfield- State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) is joining with colleagues to present a plan to fully fund the state foundation level education grant.

"It's a 'back-to-the-basics' approach that addresses the single biggest school funding problem, the shortchanging of the most important component of state aid," said Senator Barickman. "You can't build anything worthwhile without a solid foundation in place first."

Senator Barickman served on the Education Funding Advisory Committee (EFAC), which examined the current formula used by the state to determine school funding levels.

"Everyone on the EFAC committee was in agreement about one thing, there are serious flaws in the way we fund schools that lead to inequity," said Barickman. "When you add in the fact that General State Aid has been pro-rated, leaving schools with less money than the formula recommends, you have a major problem."

The Education Funding Advisory Committee was formed after a Senate Republican report that examined the formula. That report noted issues including the fact that the Chicago Public School District receives a disproportionate percentage of state funds, as well as how prioritizing other state education grants has reduced the funds available for foundation level grants.           {article submitted}

"The foundation level is a law specifically designed to guarantee a minimum funding level for all students in Illinois," said Barickman. "Under our plan, we fully fund at this foundation level first. Then we can fund those other programs that have unintentionally diminished our ability to fulfill our basic obligation to all students in Illinois."

The new proposal was introduced in response to concerns that a total revamp of the state school funding formula would not be possible for the next budget year.

"After spending months on the Education Funding Advisory Committee, listening to school officials across Illinois, I am convinced that this simple, common sense approach would be the single best reform we could adopt at this time," said Barickman.