Fair school funding conference set
Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Paul Simon Public Policy Institute plans to host a one-day conference on March 10 to examine fair school funding in Illinois.
A recent report of the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission, appointed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, will be examined during the conference, which is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the SIU Student Center.
Speakers are scheduled to include lawmakers who have been part of the commission’s deliberations, along with state and national experts on the subject.
“Paul Simon called attention to problems caused by the state’s over-reliance on property taxes to fund its K-12 schools when he was first elected to the Illinois General Assembly in the 1950s,” said Jak Tichenor. Tichenor is the interim director of the institute.
“Sixty years later, per pupil spending still varies widely between the state’s poorer and wealthier districts as a result. We welcome all residents, parents, teachers, school administrators, and students to learn about the Commission’s roadmap to finally fix the way we fund our schools.”
The conference is free and the public is invited. A complimentary continental breakfast and coffee will be available.
A catered lunch and an all-day parking pass are available for $23 at the time of registration, but are not required. Other lunch options are available in the student center.
The conference is scheduled to feature the following sessions:
8:45 a.m., Illinois K-12 Funding in Comparison to Other States, featuring Daniel Thatcher, program principal for the National Conference of State Legislatures. Thatcher tracks statewide education finance developments and Common Core State Standards implementation and legislation.
9:45 a.m., Evidence-based Model Presentation, Ralph Martire, executive director of the Center for Budget and Tax Accountability.
Martire will outline his organization’s analysis of the potential benefits of the Evidence-Based Model, EBM, of school funding under consideration by the Illinois Commission on School Funding Reform.
EBM is designed to identify the level of funding needed to deliver an adequate education to every student in a state.
11 a.m., Illinois Commission on School Funding Reform Panel Discussion.
An in-depth discussion by members of the bi-partisan commission tasked by Gov. Rauner to make recommendations to the General Assembly to revise the state’s school funding formula is planned.
Featured panelists are scheduled to include Illinois Secretary of Education Beth Purvis, State Senators Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, and Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, Kimberly Lightford, D-Maywood, and Brent Clark, executive director of the Illinois Association of School Administrators.
1:30 p.m., A User’s Guide for Budget Development Utilizing the Evidence-Based Model of Education Funding.
The presentation will feature a panel discussion of school superintendents led by Brent Clark.
The discussion will provide those attending with information they will need to develop their first year’s budget if the state adopts the Evidence-Based Model to fund K-12 schools.
Panelists are scheduled to include Gary Kelly, Du Quoin Community Unit School District; Steve Murphy, Carbondale Community High School District, and Steve Webb, Goreville Community Unit School District.
For more information and to register online, visit http://paulsimoninstitute.siu.edu/event-information/illinois-school-fund..., or call Leslie Brock, SIU Conference and Scheduling Services, at 618-536-7751 to complete registration by phone.