SB16: different slices, same pie

In some circles, there has been much discussion of Illinois Senate Bill 16. Proposed by Andy Manar, the bill would change the funding formula, improving the way that Illinois allocates funds to individual school districts. It would move from the current complicated weighted system, to one that is based on best practices. This is a good thing.

However, what is bad about this bill–and what will ultimately kill the bill, in my opinion–is that it doesn’t actually change or increase the funding available for schools from the state. It merely redistributes the “winners” and “losers” of funding. And that makes the bill extremely controversial, and difficult for independent, state-wide organizations like Illinois PTA or Illinois Education Association to sign on to.

I have been asked to defend my position on SB16. To me, it seems really obvious why I don’t support the bill: because it doesn’t change the size of the pie, it merely changes the slices. It feels like a crummy attempt by politicians to spin their wheels and make it look like they are progressive and listening and making change. But it really isn’t. And there’s only so many ways that I can say that.

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