school funding | St. Louis Public Radio

school funding

Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

As the clock winds down on the Missouri General Assembly’s regular session, legislators distracted by the Greitens scandal have done little to change the public school landscape. But that could change in coming weeks as a massive policy bill nears passage and the two chambers negotiate differences in the education budget.

Students get ready for a violin class taught by Philip Tinge at Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School in East St. Louis.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Sister Thea Bowman Catholic School in East St. Louis is one of hundreds of private schools in Illinois that could see a financial boost from the state’s new tax credit scholarship program.

More than 90 percent of the families who send their children to the school fall below the federal poverty line of $24,600 for a family of four. That gives them top priority to receive a scholarship.

Although children from low-income families get priority,  if Illinois follows the pattern of other states with similar programs, most of the tax credit scholarships will go to middle-class families.

Illinois governor signs sweeping school funding changes

Aug 31, 2017
File photo | WUIS Radio

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner on Thursday signed into law sweeping changes to the way the state funds schools, calling it a historic day that will bring "more equality, more fairness and better opportunity for all the students of Illinois."

Besides distributing state aid more equitably, the long-sought deal the Legislature approved this week gives districts more flexibility on state mandates, allows residents in well-funded districts to reduce their property taxes and creates a new tax credit for donations to private school scholarships.

Illinois’ school formula passes, giving 800-plus public districts more money

Aug 28, 2017
Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 3:45 p.m. Aug. 29 with comment from Belleville superintendent — Illinois’ school funding overhaul fight is all but over thanks to Tuesday’s 38-13 Senate vote.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has said he’ll quickly sign the plan, which will increase aid to more than 800 public school districts. Already, schools haven't received two payments from the state due to the delay in instituting the new funding mechanism.

Illinois lawmakers: School funding stalemate nearing an end

Aug 24, 2017
School Illustration
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Illinois' legislative leaders have reached a tentative agreement in the state's school funding fight, they said Thursday afternoon, but added that the details are still being worked out. 

The state has missed two payments to public schools since Gov. Bruce Rauner used an amendatory veto on the original school funding plan, which was meant to be more equitable. 

Sparta Public Schools Superintendent Gabe Schwemmer said her district doesn't have bonding authority, so it's borrowing from banks in order to open this year. Aug. 11, 2017
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Dozens of Metro East school superintendents made one thing clear Friday: They need state money, and they need it now.

Illinois’ new school funding formula is tied up in another political battle, one that could end next week when lawmakers have a chance to override Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s partial veto.

Illinois Gov. Rauner vetoes parts of K-12 school funding bill, kicks it back to legislators

Aug 1, 2017
Members of the Chicago Teacher's Union take to the streets in during a strike in April 2016.
Charles Edward Miller | Flickr

Updated at 11:35 a.m. Aug. 1 with reaction from the Illinois Federation of Teachers — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner stripped millions of dollars for Chicago Public Schools from the school funding bill Tuesday and sent it back to the General Assembly just weeks before classes begin throughout the state.

Using what's called an amendatory veto, the Republican said in a statement ahead of a news conference that his changes make sure "enough resources flow to children in the poorest and most disadvantaged school districts across the entire state."

Cullerton: Illinois school-funding bill likely headed to Rauner next week

Jul 27, 2017
The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield.
File photo | Seth Perlman | Associated Press

Updated 1 p.m. July 27 with lack of action on second day — Illinois legislators adjourned Thursday, the second day of a special session on school funding, after just a few minutes. 

Gov. Bruce Rauner summoned lawmakers to Springfield with the task of resolving a fight over a new funding calculation. Both chambers have approved a plan, but the Senate has refused to send it to Rauner, who says he'll rewrite it and send it back over objections to money for Chicago Public Schools.

ISBE Supplied Staffers DIY School Funding Simulator

Jul 27, 2017

Gov. Bruce Rauner has launched a website to show that most school districts stand to gain more state funding under his plan than under the Democrats' plan. How he calculated those numbers is a question reporters have asked repeatedly. We turned to the state board of education for answers.

schoolbus
Vipal | Flickr

Updated at 11 a.m. July 25 with statement from House Speaker Mike Madigan — Illinois lawmakers must hold the summer’s second special session due to disagreements over state’s K-12 school funding formula.

Kids sitting on the floor in a classroom
Phil Roeder | Flickr

Illinois passed a budget Thursday for the first time since 2015, and is giving more money to education than in previous spending plans.

But several years of prorated and delayed state aid have forced K-12 school districts in St. Clair and Madison counties to cut staff, increase class sizes, take on debt and deplete cash reserves. And, like the state’s finances, it’s going to take time for districts to bounce back.

Collinsville pitcher Ryan Siverly tries to apply a tag on O'Fallon's Jacob Dryer in a high school baseball game Tuesday, April 25, 2017 in Collinsville, Illinois. Players at both schools have to pay a fee to play sports.
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Several Metro East school superintendents are among the 413 public school leaders who are calling on Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Democrat-majority legislature to pass a budget after nearly two years of disagreements, and fully fund public education.

A hand distributing cash with a dialogue box.
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Four school districts in Madison County are on Illinois State Board of Education’s financial watch list for having low cash reserves and a high debt ratio.

The Alton, Bethalto, Edwardsville and Triad  districts earned the state’s lowest financial ranking based on their spending in fiscal year 2016.

Tim Bommel | Missouri House Communications

Missouri’s budget for the next fiscal year has cleared its second major hurdle, but the next one won’t be quite so easy.

 

The House passed all 13 budget bills Thursday, so the full budget for the 2018 fiscal year, which begins July 1, is now in the hands of the Senate. GOP leaders sharply disagree with the lower chamber’s move to fully fund the state’s K-12 school funding formula — putting an extra $45 million toward schools compared to the $3 million increase Gov. Eric Greitens had asked for.

Metro East schools sue Illinois over inadequate funding

Apr 5, 2017
Flickr | alkruse24

Hours after measures to increase the sales tax for schools failed in both Madison and St. Clair counties, two school districts from each county sued the state.

Bethalto, Cahokia, Grant and Wood River-Hartford schools joined more than a dozen other southern Illinois districts in the suit. They want the state to provide enough funding so districts can meet the state's new learning standards.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, left, speaks with Attorney General Chris Koster earlier this month at the Missouri State Fair. Nixon criticized Koster for a statement the Democratic gubernatorial nominee made about school funding.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is taking major issue with a statement issued on Friday by Attorney General Chris Koster about public school funding.

What prompted the governor's response is a statement that Koster’s office released reacting to reports about lead in drinking water at St. Louis Public Schools. In that statement, Koster said the “drinking-water contamination reported this week in St. Louis schools is an unintended — but significant — consequence of the repeated refusal to invest in education and infrastructure.”

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The Illinois state Board of Education Wednesday tabled a move to provide $9 million in emergency state funds to the East St. Louis school district.

The money, which has already been approved by the state legislature, was originally part of the consent agenda for the board's meeting in Belleville. But it was pulled from that larger group of items so the board could discuss it separately in closed session.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Sept. 28, 2011 -The principal of a St. Louis elementary school inflated attendance figures -- the numbers used to determine how much money public schools receive from the state of Missouri. Teachers who questioned her actions had their desks ransacked, according to a state audit released Tuesday.