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Simon pushing for bold solutions to education funding fairness at Champaign public hearing
CHAMPAIGN – November 12, 2013. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon today is urging stakeholders, lawmakers and the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to work together to pursue a bold, long-term solution to the structural problems of the school funding system at an ISBE public budget hearing being held at the Champaign Public Library.
“The current system is unsustainable and unfair,” said Simon. “We have to ensure that all of our students can learn and thrive through a fair and equitable education funding model.”
The second of five planned public hearings conducted by the Illinois State Board of Education, the Champaign meeting is aimed at soliciting ideas and recommendations from local community members on education funding priorities for K-12 in the upcoming fiscal year. ISBE is also encouraging residents to voice their opinions and thoughts on the state’s current funding formula. ISBE is currently working with the Illinois Senate Education Funding Advisory Committee to examine statewide education funding distribution. Testimony from the public hearings will be shared with the Senate committee as it works to prepare recommendations on an equitable and transparent funding system by February 2014.
According to a Rutgers University study, Illinois has the second largest funding disparity between well funded and poorly funded schools, and is one of the lowest in the nation in terms of state spending on public education in relation to state wealth. Simon is backing a long-term solution to school funding that will reduce inequities and build up to adequate funding. Simon will discuss ideas to revise funding formulas to help low-income and rural communities, examine the possibility of creating a constitutional amendment designating education as a fundamental right, and explore the possibility of ISBE seeking legislative authority to modify the state aid formulas when funding falls short.
Simon serves as the state's point person on education reform. In this capacity, Simon is working to increase the proportion of working-age adults with college degrees or certificates to 60 percent by 2025. As chair of the 25-member Governor's Rural Affairs Council, Simon is also working to improve the delivery of state services and education opportunities to rural Illinois.
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