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Illinois school districts to receive additional funding

Streator schools top county in new money

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois school districts will receive about $395 million in additional funding that was approved in the state budget last summer.

The Illinois State Board of Education sent vouchers Thursday to the comptroller's office, which will handle distributing the additional money to more than 800 school districts.

Streator's two districts stand to gain the most in La Salle County. Streator High School will receive $658,276 extra cash and Streator Elementary will get $481,256 more.

In Ottawa, the elementary district will receive $319,408 more and Ottawa High School $256,513.

Chicago Public Schools will receive an extra $60 million.

“I believe this marks the beginning of a new era for how we fund schools," said Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, whose district includes Livingston County. "The distribution of these funds is the result of the years of hard work from lawmakers and members of the education community toward creating an adequate and equitable system of distributing funds to schools."

Comptroller Susana Mendoza's office said it's already made preparations for the additional payments to be made once they're approved by the board. They'll go out at the same time as regular state aid payments on the 10th and 20th of each month.

The additional payments will start next week and continue to June. The appropriations originate from the state's new evidence-based funding formula intended to provide a more equitable funding structure.

"Many people have spent many years of their lives advocating for this change, so today is the first day of a system that will undoubtedly serve children better," Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, said Thursday.

Lawmakers will have to increase K-12 spending each year over the next decade for the funding formula to have its maximum effect.

“We still have much work to do," Barickman said. "We need to get the Professional Review Panel, which is required by the new funding law, up and running so that we can study how effective the new formula is at meeting its goals. Lawmakers as a whole also need to remain committed to appropriating the necessary funding to make the new formula work."

The board recommended a $7.2 billion increase in its budget, saying it's important to show what kind of funding commitment is needed to ensure each school district has adequate resources to educate its students.

Manar said ensuring that the system gets adequate funding will be the key issue going forward.

BY THE NUMBERS (Final Tier Funding, new money)

Allen-Otter Creek (Ransom): $126

Cornell: $2,850

Deer Park: $121

Earlville: $28,503

Fieldcrest: $39,027

Flanagan-Cornell: $15,238

Grand Ridge: $314

La Salle Elementary: $317,585

La Salle-Peru High School: $163,340

Leland: $5,438

Lostant: $171

Marseilles: $88,749

Mendota Elementary: $114,646

Mendota High School: $143,434

Miller (Milton Pope): $5,290

Newark High School: $279

Newark Elementary: $7,033

Oglesby: $172,792

Ottawa Elementary: $319,408

Ottawa High School: $256,513

Peru Elementary: $41,635

Rutland: $85

Sandwich Unit: $187,551

Seneca Elementary: $601

Seneca High School: $650

Somonauk: $42,399

Streator High School: $658,276

Streator Elementary: $481,256

Tonica: $7,584

Unit 2 (Serena): $957

Wallace: $5,940

Waltham: $4,224

Woodland: $27,724

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