Updated: most local school districts would come out ahead under new state funding plan
The Champaign Unit 4 School District would take a state funding hit while the Urbana School District would gain state aid under a plan that's working its way through the legislature.
The Illinois State Board of Education this week released preliminary data on how funding amounts would change for each school district if the bill is enacted.
Locally, most districts would come out ahead. For example, the Danville School District would see an increase of around $5 million. Urbana schools would see around a $4 million bump. And Rantoul City Schools would receive an increase of around $2.6 million.
Among those taking a funding hit would be Champaign Unit 4 at over $770,000. Monticello would see a cut of around $740,000. That's about a 73% drop.
Meanwhile, Republican Senator from Bloomington Jason Barickman has been studying this issue from the beginning. He said lawmakers will be poring over this new data to see what changes need to be made to the bill, whether it's funding-related or otherwise.
On the whole, the bill aims to overhaul how the state doles out money to school districts to make sure each district is getting a fair shake. Among other things, districts would have to demonstrate need before getting money.
One change to the bill that's already been proposed would limit funds given to the poorest schools. Senator Barickman called that change "helpful" but said he has not decided yet whether he'll vote for the bill.
Monticello schools superintendent reacts to gloomy figures
The head of a Piatt County school district said he knew there would be winners and losers in a proposed plan to change the state's school funding formula. But, he was hoping that his district wouldn't be such a big loser.
Monticello School District Superintendent Vic Zimmerman made the comments in reaction to preliminary data put out by the state board of education that shows how much school districts would gain or lose in state funding if the new plan is enacted. For Monticello, the numbers show a loss of around $740,000 or about a 73% drop.
And as you might expect, Zimmerman said losing that money could lead to cutbacks.
Zimmerman added that he understands why Monticello schools may take a funding hit. He said the district isn't very diverse demographically, has a low number of students in poverty and is considered to be on the wealthy end of the spectrum among other things. And in the eyes of the new plan, that's a formula for less money. Still, Zimmerman said that's no consolation, and he said he's been in contact with local lawmakers on the issue.
The preliminary figures from the Illinois State Board of Education can be viewed here.
Details on the plan to change the state's school funding formula can be found here.