Cullerton Proposes Fix for Public School Funding Gap

Senate President proposes overhaul of state schools, takes shot at Gov. Rauner


Illinois Senate President John Cullerton said Monday he favors a plan that would shift $400 million to school districts in high poverty areas, stressing the need to fix the funding gap that sees affluent districts receive more money than poor districts. 

“Our state has the most inequitable system of school finance in the country,” Cullerton said during an address at the City Club of Chicago. “It’s fundamentally unfair.”

He said the inequity is the result of a 20-year-old formula that penalizes school districts serving high poverty areas.

“Our broken school funding formula is the crisis of our time,” Cullerton said.

State aid is currently given to schools to counteract basic education costs through a formula that factors in poverty rates. Districts are also awarded grants based on the number of students enrolled in certain programs.

Cullerton referred to his proposed overhaul as the “turnaround” that the state needs. This is a nod to Gov. Bruce Rauner’s Turnaround Agenda that Cullerton opposes.

“I'm here to challenge Governor Rauner,” Cullerton said. "We don't have a budget because of his Turnaround Agenda."

Rauner will deliver his State of the State Address Wednesday at noon.

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