Rep. Hammond Discusses K-12 Education Funding Reform

Assistant House Minority Leader Norine K. Hammond (R-Macomb) provided the following statement as result of the special session called for K-12 Education Funding Reform:

“Governor Rauner called a special session to start on Wednesday, July 26 for the purpose of reforming the way in which the state funds K-12 education. Over the course of this last legislative session, it was agreed to by both chambers and parties that an evidence-based K-12 education funding formula was the most equitable funding formula for the students of Illinois.

During the legislative session, Senate Bill 1, which reforms the state’s K-12 education funding formula to an evidence-based one, passed the House and Senate but was never sent to the Governor. I support moving to an evidence-based model of school funding. I cannot, however, support SB 1 in its current form. If my colleagues can agree to remove the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) pension payment from the formula, I could support this measure. Until then, though, I will be working with my colleagues to make changes to the legislation.

The reason for this is not a small one. Millions and millions of dollars in general state aid are sent to CPS to pick up the cost of one school district’s initiatives and pension obligation under SB 1. The rest of the state’s school districts, however, must pick up the cost of programs like Early Childhood Education, different forms of transportation, and pension and healthcare related costs, where CPS does not because the entire state subsidizes them.

For that reason, I continue to support the evidence-based alternative with true equity, HB 4069. According to Illinois State Board of Education data, under HB 4069, which is identical to SB 1 with the exception of the millions that go to CPS pensions, all Illinois school districts are treated fairly and receive more equitable funding. SB 1 favors one school district; HB 4069 treats all school districts based on the agreed upon evidence-based funding formula.

If the state of Illinois is going to create a more equitable funding formula for K-12 education, we should do so without favoring one school district.”