Uncertain future for funding reform

Advocates for school funding reform are focusing on “next year” after a once-promising spring legislative session left them empty-handed. “Next year” is an election year, when the governor’s office, two-thirds of the Illinois Senate and the entire Illinois House are up for grabs. Champions of a tax swap proposal designed to bring in more money for schools plan to use that to their advantage.

Millions less for Chicago schools

CPS’ top budget official says the district stands to get only $35 million from the budget proposed by Gov. Rod Blagojevich, which he first shared with legislators just a week after CPS made its pitch. The governor’s budget would give schools across Illinois only $140 million

Panel aims to shield school funding

When the Education Funding Advisory Board gave lawmakers its recommendation for a $1,441 increase in minimum per-pupil spending, the board made another little-noticed but far-reaching proposal that would, in effect, end the yearly battles over how much to spend on schools.

Capital Dispatch

This spring, Gov. Rod Blagojevich proposed a $500 million program to build new schools across the state, plus $50 million to help districts pay for major repairs. But the governor never specified where the money would come from.

Lawmakers put the brakes on governor’s education agenda

Gov. Rod Blagojevich called for dismantling the state Board of Education, increasing the minimum amount of per-pupil funding by $250, bringing responsibility for construction and some personnel functions under state oversight, banning pop and candy in schools, mandating community service for high school students and sending free books to pre-school children.

Capital Dispatch

Despite last-minute negotiations over the Memorial Day weekend, the House and Senate remained at odds over how much to raise the basic ‘foundation level’ of per-pupil funding for schools and how to pay for it.

Capital Dispatch

Many opponents suggested the state should first pay for its proven teacher-training programs, like the Golden Apple Scholars, which Gov. Rod Blagojevich cut from his budget. Supporters are trying to restore that program’s $3.8 million funding. Blagojevich has until late July to act on the new measure.

Standards push helps lawsuits

Indeed, lawsuits are by far the most common tactic activists have used to try and force states to change their education funding systems. In all, 45 states have faced lawsuits filed by reformers looking to the courts for relief. And while every state constitution includes an education clause that can be used as a springboard to a lawsuit, courts in some states have been more willing than others.

CPS fares well in General Assembly despite record state budget shortfall

Practically speaking, the most important change was the turnover in the Senate. Under former Senate President James “Pate” Philip’s control, many proposals affecting Chicago schools could never get a hearing. Last year, for instance, Republicans prevented a vote on the compromise between the CTU and CPS over collective bargaining rights, even though lawmakers in both houses agreed to approve the bill.