- Published: Tuesday, May 10, 2016 06:15 PM
Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park) released the following statement today regarding his vote on Senate Bill 231, a school funding reform measure that passed in the Illinois Senate on a vote of 31-21.
“Today in Illinois we have a flawed school funding formula that distributes state aid unfairly. It’s a system that’s been in place for nearly 20 years and no longer works for everyone.
“Illinois needs to distribute the resources it has more fairly across the state by giving more consideration to factors that increase the cost of educating youth, such as student poverty and the number of bilingual students in a school.
“This was not an easy vote for me because of the different needs of schools across our district. But after carefully looking at the numbers and weighing the benefits, I determined it was important to vote in favor of overhauling a flawed system and acknowledging that additional resources need to be directed to the schools and the students that need them the most throughout our district and Illinois.
“I don’t believe Senate Bill 231 will become law in its current form. But we’ve debated school funding reform for years, and we’ve always found a way to collectively say no. It’s time to start saying yes.
“This step today is a part of that conversation, not the final word. We need to find a way, consistent with the best evidence available, to direct new resources where they are needed the most. We must also strive to do so in a way that doesn’t divert resources away from districts that can’t make do without them.
“We need to ensure educational excellence across the state. We can do that only by appropriating adequate resources and distributing them fairly.
“Senate Bill 231 moves the discussion forward. I feel that this proposal, when paired with the appropriate level of state funding for schools, could work for everyone. I look forward to being part of a continued conversation about great public schools and fair funding in this state.”