ANALYSIS OF SB 1947 (Public Act 100-0465): The Evidence-Based Funding for Student Success Act
October 10, 2017
On Thursday, August 31, 2017, the people of Illinois woke up in the state that had the worst—as in least equitable—K-12 public education funding formula in the country. That night they went to bed in the state that had the best. This historic transformation happened because that afternoon, Governor Bruce Rauner signed Senate Bill (SB) 1947—which became Public Act (P.A.) 100-0465—into law. This breakthrough legislation incorporates the full “evidence-based model” (EBM) of school funding previously contained in SB 1. And while SB 1 passed the General Assembly in May of 2017, it was vetoed by the Governor. To gain the Governor’s support, a few, non-school funding related provisions were tacked onto SB 1 in what became the final version of that bill—SB 1947—which the Governor signed.
The Evidence-Based Model incorporated in P.A. 100-0465 represents the best practice in school funding for one simple reason: it ties the dollar amount taxpayers invest in schools to those educational practices which the research shows actually enhance student achievement over time. Hence, after the model becomes fully funded, stakeholders can expect to see: growth in student test scores; improved school climates with reduced disciplinary problems; reduced drop-out rates with corresponding increases in high school graduation and college enrollment rates; and a K-12 system that appropriately serves the social/emotional needs of students from diverse backgrounds. Ultimately, the EBM—again, when fully funded—will create a K-12 system with the capacity to provide an education of sufficient quality for all students to graduate high school college and career ready, irrespective of income, race, geography, or ethnicity.