Seventeen Illinois school districts with large populations of students from low-income families have sued Gov. Bruce Rauner and the state school board to force the state to provide them with more funding.
The Belleville News-Democrat reports that the suit, filed in St. Clair County, says the state is failing to provide enough funds to give students a “high-quality education,” which is the language in the Illinois Constitution.
The districts argue that the state should be assisting them in meeting the Illinois Learning Standards imposed on schools. Meeting those standards requires textbooks, curriculum and professional development, and some districts have had to make cuts to finance those items. They want the state to calculate what it would cost per student to meet the specific standards in place and then provide the funding.
In a statement, Illinois Secretary of Education Beth Purvis asserts that school districts in Illinois are receiving the highest level of funding to date under Rauner. She says that school funding has increased by $700 million since Rauner took office in 2015.
“The Governor also created a bipartisan school funding commission to improve the formula, which has recommended changes that will create an equitable school funding formula that will better meet the needs of each students within every school district in our state,” Purvis says. “The Governor never stops working to increase funding for our students and hopes school districts across Illinois will work with him and members of the General Assembly on this endeavor.”