Compromise education measures are fair, fix system's flaws, Barickman says
A budget and reform package unveiled Wednesday by Republican lawmakers will fix the broken education funding system in Illinois and is something Democrats should find acceptable, Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) says.
“With today’s [bills] that we are filing, I think you will see widespread total agreement on a number of things related to the formula,” Barickman said. “There is an agreement on the fact the we need to use an evidence-based formula that utilized 27 elements based on best practices. We are in total agreement on how we handle poverty concentration, the tier structure, regionalization factors and adjustments to the formula, protections and safeguards for our English learners and special education funding, how we calculate available local resources and what’s in the base funding minimum. In all these areas, you’ll see in today’s legislation that we are in agreement.”
Barickman was part of the education funding reform discussion with Senate Democrats but found their abrupt departure from the negotiating table disconcerting. While a Senate education funding bill, SB1, was passed by both chambers, Barickman argued that the bill was not the result of a bipartisan effort. He hopes the proposals he proposed will more it toward a more bipartisan nature.
“With the bills that we are filing today on education funding, you’ll see total agreements from both sides on all those issues that I have outlined,” Barickman said. “That doesn’t mean there are not a few areas where we need to close the gap. That is what we try to do here today with our bills. Our bills pick up from where those negotiations left off and advance ideas that are an attempt to split the difference or pull from the respective Democrat and Republican priorities that were represented in those negotiations, put it in bill form and show where Republicans are willing to take votes.”
The proposals would concede to picking up Chicago Public School’s normal pension costs, of which Republicans were wary, and remove some mandates that Democrats found hostile, according to Barickman.
With all the changes, he emphasized that any education funding formula must be fair to all school districts.
“It’s important that any change to that school funding formula result in a fair and equitable system that is fair to all the students of this state and all the districts of this state, whether students live in Chicago, the suburbs or elsewhere,” Barickman said.