Evidence-based funding formula finalized by State Board of Education

By Gary Scott on April 5, 2018 at 12:47pm

The Illinois State Board of Education has finalized the new evidence-based funding for fiscal year 2018, and the figures reveal confounding inequities for school districts across the state.

Vouchers have been issued to Illinois State Comptroller Susana Mendoza today from the Illinois State Board of Education, which clears the path for the tier funding portion of evidence-based funding for fiscal year 2018 to be sent to the most under-resourced school districts in Illinois.

Jackie Matthews works as the Director of Media and External Communications for the State Board of Education. Matthews goes over the process of finalizing the new funding, and talks about what the evidence-based numbers reveal.

“Implementing a radically new funding formula required extraordinary effort by ISBE staff and school districts. And the Illinois State Board of Education deeply appreciates Governor Rauner and the General Assembly’s commitment through the passage, cleanup, and distribution of this historic first year of evidence-based funding. The evidence-based funding numbers show staggering inequity. But we now have common language to talk about the needs of our students and the situated-ness of our schools within communities. We have a common understanding of what all of our children deserve. Evidence-Based Funding puts us on the path to deliver on the promise of equity for all Illinois’ students. Investing in equity is the superior growth strategy for our state,” says Matthews.

Matthews explains how the State Board of Education worked with Illinois school districts, and goes into further detail regarding the new evidence-based funding formula.

“ISBE led a collaborative process with school districts to verify detailed enrollment counts for the past three years. The evidence-based funding formula defines an adequate funding target for each school district, based on enrollment numbers and the cost of 34 factors proven to deliver the greatest positive impact to students. The formula compares each district’s current resources to its unique adequacy target. Increases in state education appropriations go to the most under-resourced districts,” Matthews explains.

As for what some of those numbers are, Matthews breaks down some of the funding figures that factored into the new formula.

“Tier funding totals approximately $395 million statewide, including $29 million specifically for English Learners in the highest need districts. ISBE issues evidence-based funding vouchers twice per month from August through June. School districts have been receiving the base funding minimum, or hold harmless, portion of evidence-based funding. The final six evidence-based funding vouchers for fiscal year 2018 will contain all of the fiscal year 2018 tier funding. The evidence-based funding formula requires an additional $7.2 billion investment to provide adequate funding for every school district in the state,” says Matthews.

According to Matthews, the Illinois Comptroller is responsible for processing those vouchers and distributing the actual funds to the school districts throughout the state.