Nearly 100 organizations are joining together to push Illinois lawmakers to pass a school funding reform proposal in the spring.
Funding Illinois' Future members include community foundations, civil rights organizations, school officials, and business and education reform groups statewide. All support the passage of a school funding proposal sponsored by Democratic state Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill.
The legislation would overhaul Illinois' dated school funding formula, first put in place in 1997. While there's wide agreement that the state's funding formula should be altered, how it should be changed remains under debate.
If Manar's bill is approved, it would direct more state money to poorer rural districts at the expense of wealthier suburban districts. The bill passed out of the state Senate last spring. A group of top House Democrats have been studying the issue and plan to hold hearings on the bill in the fall.
Opponents said the bill unfairly penalizes some districts able to spend more money on students because of rich property tax bases.
Robin Steans, director of education reform group Advance Illinois, said the coalition plans to hold a series of community meetings statewide on the bill.