Representative Barbara Wheeler (R-Crystal Lake) filed House Resolution 9 (HR9) in January to call on House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) to enact a special committee in the House to examine the existing school funding formula. Her efforts have borne fruit as the Speaker just created a special task force, to which Wheeler has been assigned, to do just that. Wheeler’s efforts came from the out-cry over last year’s Senate Bill 16 (SB16), reintroduced as Senate Bill 1 (SB1) this year.
“After numerous calls from my colleagues and I, I’m pleased to see that the Speaker has heard our voices to have the House thoroughly examine the education funding formula change that the Senate tried to force through last year, and is attempting to do again this year” said Wheeler. “The House was never given a chance to review our state’s current funding breakdown, which led to a very bad bill. I’m looking forward to this opportunity to bring my experience as an educator to the table and make recommendations that will provide a beneficial restructuring to our school funding formula that improves education for all Illinois children.”
Wheeler has been calling for a special House committee since last year and finally the Speaker has realized the value on the House’s involvement in such a major restructuring. Last fall, SB16 attempted to substantially re-write the school funding formula in the state. SB16 would have stripped millions of dollars in funding from McHenry and Lake County Schools. While the bill was ultimately killed last fall due to the efforts of numerous concerned parents and educators, the bill was refiled this year as SB1.
The newly minted House Education Task Force will conduct a thorough review of the existing school funding formula and make recommendations for reforms that would create a funding system that would be adequate, equitable and which prepares students for achievement and success after high school. These recommendations will be used in conjunction with the previous study conducted by the Senate to ensure that a fair and equitable education funding formula is created to benefit all of the students attending Illinois’ public schools.
“Providing for our children’s future is the most important thing to every parent, and it made no sense that the House was excluded from this process last year,” said Wheeler. “It would be incredibly unfair to not only the children of Illinois, but our state’s parents and educators to drastically overhaul our education funding formula without a complete understanding of its impacts, and without the input and review of both our legislative bodies. As not only a parent, but also a former educator, it is very important to me to ensure that we take as much time as necessary to do this properly and offer every child in Illinois the best opportunity to achieve scholastic success.”