While the state's budget for next year is still in flux, Republicans in the Illinois Senate say they have a new plan that would fully fund public schools. This year, Illinois is only sending schools 89 percent of the state's optimal figure. That funding gap results in local schools cutting their budgets or making it up through property taxes. Republicans say they'd prioritize this money before all other school spending, including grants for higher concentrations of poverty. Democrats, like Senator Andy Manar of Bunker Hill, say this misses the big picture. Manar is pushing legislation to completely change how schools are funded, with a focus on poverty:
"This is simply a distraction from what is a difficult question before the members of the Senate."
But Manar's plan has yet to get a vote in the full Senate. And with just one week remaining in the spring legislative session, both proposals are long shots.
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