Sen. Barickman helps launch school funding reform commission

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) joined Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner in Chicago to announce the formation of the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission which will be tasked with finding bipartisan agreement on rewriting the state’s out of date school funding formula.

“Our children deserve the best education possible, but the way in which we currently fund schools is broken,” said Sen. Barickman. “We must take action now, before a generation of students lose the opportunity to receive a world class education that will equip them to compete in this global economy.”

Senators Barickman and Sue Rezin (R-Peru) were immediately appointed by Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (R-Lemont) to serve on the 25-member panel which will work to develop a bipartisan solution to replace the state’s current school funding mechanism.

Senator Barickman has previously served as a member of the bipartisan Education Funding Advisory Committee (EFAC), and has spent the last two years working with the education community to develop an evidence-based funding model that has been embraced by hundreds of Illinois schools.

“In recent years, there have been efforts to reform our broken and outdated school funding formula, but none had the strong bipartisan support necessary to make it happen,” said Senator Barickman. “I believe the leadership of the Governor and his administration – in concert with bipartisan, bicameral legislative participation and input from stakeholders — is what will allow this effort to finally be successful.”

The Illinois School Funding Reform Commission is tasked with developing and recommending a bipartisan comprehensive solution to reform Illinois’ school funding formula that can be put into place for the 2017-2018 school year. The commission will be required to report their recommendation to the General Assembly and Governor no later than February 1, 2017, to provide enough time to pass legislation for the following school year.

Each of the General Assembly’s four leaders will appoint five members to the commission, with another five members appointed by the administration. The Governor’s five designees will include Secretary of Education Beth Purvis, who will also serve as the commission’s chairperson. Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) chair Re. James Meeks will serve a liaison between the commission and the ISBE.

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