State Senator Dale Righter, who represents the local 55th District, says he does not support a recently proposed funding plan for schools in Illinois. Numbers from the Illinois State Board of Education show downstate school districts and students would end up on the losing end of an education funding reform plan, to the tune of $120 million. Meanwhile, Senate Bill 231 would direct an additional $352 million to the bankrupt Chicago Public Schools (CPS).
“It’s Groundhog Day all over again at the Statehouse; downstate schools lose big, while Chicago wins big,” Righter said. “These numbers just add to the proof this education funding reform is another failed attempt at fixing the system. If we are going to solve this problem, all stakeholders and members of both parties must be at the table. This legislation is clearly not the answer.
“Schools across downstate would be devastated under this plan,” Righter said. “Bailing out the Chicago Public Schools at the expense of downstate and rural schools and students is just plain wrong. Let’s scrap this plan and get back to the negotiating table. A comprehensive proposal to fixing the state’s funding formula must take a balanced approach and not be designed to prop-up one area of the state.”
In the meantime, Sen. Righter says he supports fully funding the K-12 education system, something that hasn’t occurred in seven years under a legislature controlled by the Democrat Party. Righter filed legislation (SB 1341) last year would fully fund the foundation formula at 100 percent and end the practice of proration.
“Fully funding our schools sends the right message,” Righter said. “It ensures schools open in the fall and it makes students and our state’s future a priority.”