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LaHood Opinion: Illinois school funding reform needs revisited

PRINGFIELD – As children head back to school, the summer fair season is wrapping up, but is always ends with our state’s two largest celebrations of agriculture -- the Illinois State Fair in Springfield and its southern Illinois cousin – the DuQuoin State Fair.

Agriculture is the basis of the Illinois economy and it looks like Illinois farmers have the potential to have another good year. Our Illinois agricultural industry is on track for back-to-back quality years after dealing with historic drought in 2012. The easiest way to tell whether or not producers have had a good year, is if tax revenues are up.

One-quarter of Illinois’ economy is based in the agriculture sector and it should be a top priority of the legislature to enact policies that allow the sector to grow. Illinois is the third largest producers of commodities in the United States and we continue to expand our agricultural reach throughout the world. - See more at: http://www.senatorlahood.com/Media/News/NewsDetails/TabId/795/p/16719/v/2000/-LaHood-Opinion-New-911-Dialing-Law-Further-Protects-Safety-of-Illinoisans.aspx
SPRINGFIELD – As children head back to school, the summer fair season is wrapping up, but is always ends with our state’s two largest celebrations of agriculture -- the Illinois State Fair in Springfield and its southern Illinois cousin – the DuQuoin State Fair.

Agriculture is the basis of the Illinois economy and it looks like Illinois farmers have the potential to have another good year. Our Illinois agricultural industry is on track for back-to-back quality years after dealing with historic drought in 2012. The easiest way to tell whether or not producers have had a good year, is if tax revenues are up.

One-quarter of Illinois’ economy is based in the agriculture sector and it should be a top priority of the legislature to enact policies that allow the sector to grow. Illinois is the third largest producers of commodities in the United States and we continue to expand our agricultural reach throughout the world. - See more at: http://www.senatorlahood.com/Media/News/NewsDetails/TabId/795/p/16719/v/2000/-LaHood-Opinion-New-911-Dialing-Law-Further-Protects-Safety-of-Illinoisans.aspxA seemingly insolvable $100 billion pension deficit has thousands of Illinoisans running for the hills and credit rating agencies issuing more negative reports.

Creating winners and losers should not be the object of the game when it comes to reforming Illinois’ school funding formula. However, a legislative measure that does just that was passed out of the Senate this spring and awaits consideration in the House.

What started as a bipartisan effort to improve the equitability of Illinois’ education funding formula has become one-sided, as Senate Democrats crafted their own reform legislation behind closed doors this spring—complicating an already complex formula and further widening the funding disparities between Chicago and downstate schools.

Senate Bill 16 does little to address the problems Senate Republicans identified during a thorough examination of the state’s school funding system. During the course of our review we discovered that over the last decade the State’s core education funding mechanism – General State Aid – has been eroded by channeling money to other programs instead of being allocated to Foundation Level grants.

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