Manar Aiming For Equity Within Illinois Schools

Apr 12, 2017

Democratic Senator Andy Manar speaking to the McLean County Democratic Party about educational reform.
Credit Mike Miletich / WGLT

State Senator Andy Manar says everyone could benefit if Illinois has great equity among school districts. 

During a stop in Bloomington Wednesday night, the Bunker Hill Democrat said the state is harming individuals today by having the least equitable state in the country.

Manar said the state's schools can't succeed unless lawmakers come together to help the state succeed. 

"We can't have individual school districts that are well funded that meet every expectation and have a whole bunch that are left in the dust and put them all together and call that success," said Manar. "That's not success."

Manar said his bill would freeze funding for districts at their current amount for a few years. He said money would then be prioritized to the least funded districts in order to create more equity with areas of wealth. 

Bloomington-Normal school superintendents have expressed reservations about Manar's plan, though they approve of work on the issue. They say Manar's formula would reduce state aid to Unit Five and District 87. 

Manar also brought up he supports Republican Jason Barickman's plan for education even though it opposes his own bill. 

Manar said Barickman has been a leader on the issue for years. He said regardless of divisions, he views Barickman's move as a step in the right direction. 

"To his credit, he put pen to paper and he filed a bill. Five years ago we couldn't find a single funding reform bill in Springfield despite the fact that everyone knew that the system is rotten," said Manar. 

Manar said Barickman's bill should be given a fair consideration in the Senate.

This legislation is the second time Barickman has introduced a school funding plan based on the "evidence-based model."

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