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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 6, 2000

Leininger To Chair Education Funding Advisory Board

SPRINGFIELD - Governor George H. Ryan today named Former State School Superintendent Robert Leininger as chairman of the Educational Funding Advisory Board, a panel which must recommend legislative changes to Illinois' school aid formula. The Governor expanded the Education Funding Advisory Board, which was created by law in 1997, to include13 ex-officio members. The Board is required by law to recommend modifications to the general state aid formula to bring it up to date. The recommendation must be based on a methodology that incorporates per pupil spending at schools with high concentrations of children from poverty.

The Governor is asking the 18-member advisory board to hold hearings throughout the state to receive input from educators, parents, local officials, business and the general public on school funding issues. While the ex-officio members will be equally involved in hearings, only the five statutorily mandated advisory board members have voting rights on the final report.

"'This panel has an extremely difficult task to complete in a short amount of time on an extraordinarily very complex issue," Ryan said. "However, I'm confident the panels findings will provide invaluable benefit to Illinois educational system," he said.

Because state statutes limit the advisory board to only five members, the Governor appointed additional members to provide greater diversity of opinion. Ryan noted that for the first time ever, representatives of the state's public and non-public schools will have a seat at the table to discuss public funding reform.

"We welcome the experience and advice of all sectors, so that we can hear everyone's concerns and address those issues head-on," Ryan added. Expanding the advisory board provides each area of the state representation, reflecting the diverse make up of the student population. During the 1999-2000 school year, public school enrollment topped 2,011,530 students with a vast majority of Catholic children attending public schools.

According to state law, the continuing appropriation for the current general state aid formula, which gives a funding level for each school based on student attendance, will sunset in FY 2001. Since 1998, the general state aid foundation funding levels were set at $4,225 for 1998-1999; $4,325 for 1999-2000; and $4,425 for 2000-2001.

In his first two years as Governor, Ryan has fulfilled his pledge to make education a top funding priority, allocating at least 51 percent of the state budget to new school funding. For FY 2001, the Governor dedicated more than $330 million in new money to education. The $330 million comprises about 53 percent of the state's financial growth for Fiscal Year 2001.

General State Aid for public schools currently is calculated one of three ways:

1. If a district's available local resources per pupil are less than 93 percent of the foundation level, the district's state aid equals (Foundation level -available local resources) multiplied by average daily attendance (ADA).

2. If a district's available local resources per pupil is more than 93 percent, but less than 175 percent of the foundation level, the district's state aid equals a sliding amount from 7 percent to 5 percent of the foundation level multiplied by ADA.

3. If a district's available local resources per pupil is more than 175 percent of the foundation level, the district's state aid equals $219 multiplied by ADA.

In addition to the general state aid formula, public school funding is based on other provisions in the statutes that were created to address local government concerns:

Hold Harmless: All districts will be entitled to receive no less state aid in 1998-99 and any subsequent year than what they received in 1997-98 (the 1997-98 amount will include the Hold Harmless, but it will not include the Adequacy Grants). Hold harmless payments would come from a separate appropriation. If the appropriation is short, amounts will be prorated.

Double Whammy: The new formula addresses the double whammy problem beginning in 1999-2000. It creates a supplemental grant that must be funded with a separate appropriation.

"All of these tangential issues must be reviewed so that the advisory board can complete its charge of suggesting changes to the school aid formula in such a way as to continue to provide adequate funding to Illinois' 4,200 schools," Ryan said.

A list of advisory board members is attached.

EDUCATION FUNDING ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS

C. Robert Leininger of Springfield, former Superintendent of State Board of Education

Dr. Marleis Trover of Vienna, Superintendent of Vienna High School District

Anne Davis of Harvey, President of Illinois Education Association

Bert Docter of South Holland, CEO Docter Enterprises

Dean Clark of Glen Ellyn, President Graphic Chemical and Ink Company

Ex-officio Members

Dr. Hazel Loucks of Edwardsville, Deputy Governor for Education and Workforce Training

J. Kay Giles of Country Club Hills, Superintendent of Prairie-Hills School District

Thomas Boyle of Oak Lawn, VP of Custom Companies, Oak Lawn School School Board

Dr. Robert Mandeville of Springfield, Former Deputy Superintendent of ISBE,

Doug Delaney of Naperville, Executive Director of Catholic Conference of Illinois

Robert Nielsen of Bloomington, Superintendent of Bloomington C.U.S.D. 87

Harry Litchfield of Moline, Deere & Co. Project Manager of Learning and Development, former ISBE member

Paul Vallas of Chicago, Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public School System

Former Senator Arthur Berman, Chicago, Retired

Rep. Carolyn Krause, R-Mount Prospect, Illinois House Education Committee

Rep. Edgar Lopez, D-Chicago, Illinois House Majority Conference Chair

Sen. Doris Karpiel, R-Roselle, Illinois Senate Majority Caucus Chair

Senator Lisa Madigan, D-Chicago, Illinois Senate Appropriations Committee


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