New Illinois Education Law Provides Equitable Funding for Public Charter School Students
Illinois General Assembly, Governor Rauner pass historic legislation providing a fair funding system for public school students across district and charter schools.
Washington, D.C.—The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools applauds the Illinois General Assembly and Governor Bruce Rauner for passing and signing into law historic legislation that provides a fair funding system for public school students across the state—regardless of their zip code or type of public school they attend.
“Today, the Illinois General Assembly and Governor Rauner made history by reforming education funding in the prairie state,” said National Alliance President and CEO Nina Rees. “Senate Bill 1947, House Amendment 5, now the law of the land, provides increased funding to districts that need it most—those with higher concentrations of low-income students and with lower levels of property wealth. It additionally provides equitable funding to public school students who attend charter schools, helping to ensure these students are no longer placed at a disadvantage for choosing the public school that best fits their needs. The National Alliance thanks Illinois’ legislative leaders for their hard work to create an environment that is supportive of equitable, accessible, and high-quality public school options for Illinois students.”
Added Illinois Network of Charter Schools (INCS) President Andrew Broy, “All students deserve access to a high-quality education that prepares them for the future, and this law ensures students in all areas of Illinois, including the most underserved, are treated fairly. What’s more, this law provides statewide charter funding equity—INCS’ main legislative priority—which will allow charter schools to allocate more resources to the classroom.”
The new law benefits public school students by:
- Reforming Illinois’ statewide funding formula: The law changes the statewide school funding formula so that additional funding will flow to districts with higher concentrations of low-income students and districts with lower levels of property wealth. This has been a 30-year struggle to recognize that districts with higher concentrations of low-income students and students who require additional supports need additional state revenue. This funding formula change will endure, and new funding will now flow much more equitably.
- Providing charter funding equity: This new law requires that every charter school in Illinois be funded between 97% and 103% of the host district’s per capita tuition charge (PCTC), up from 75% to 125% per the current law. PCTC is a calculation by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to quantify the amount a school district pays from its own resources for each student. This represents a major win for the charter community and will require operational funding parity for the first time in Illinois history.
- Giving Chicago Public Schools additional funds: Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will receive approximately $327 million in new money from the state, $221 million of which is the payment of the district’s normal pension costs. The rest is an adjustment of the formula and a few additional payments. Crucially, and this is a change from Senate Bill 1, the pension funding will be in the statewide pension budget, not in the school aid funding formula.
About Public Charter Schools
Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, many research studies have found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.
About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit www.publiccharters.org.