News Local/State

Area School Superintendents Relieved School Funding Bill Passes


The Superintendent of Champaign Unit 4 Schools thinks the new school funding bill is good because it has a more equal funding formula, but she’s concerned about the private school component.

The bill contains a new $75 million program that would provide tax credits to organizations offering private school scholarships.

Superintendent Susan Zola says public school districts in Illinois are concerned with that provision.

“We know this community is a strong supporter of public education so locally I don’t think we’ll see significant impact, Zola Said. "But, generally the concept is not one that is well received."

In rural Vermilion County, Phil Cox is Superintendent of Salt Fork District 512. According to his figures, the new school funding formula means District 512 gets $69,000 more a year — the same that would have been provided under Senate Bill One, which Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed.

But Cox added that Salt Fork would have gotten even more money under a proposal by Governor Rauner that the General Assembly never considered.

“It is by no means perfect, but it is better than the previous way Illinois funded schools," Cox said. "It’s a lot more equitable now.”

The new funding formula replaces one that had given Illinois some of the biggest funding gaps between rich and poor school districts of any state in the nation.

Both Cox and Zola agree that the best part of the school funding bill is that it guarentees that school districts get the funds they need to stay open all year.