PI Original Adam Doster Friday August 22nd, 2008, 10:30am

Report Details Education Funding Gaps

It's well-known that Illinois' education funding system creates widespread inequities due to a heavy dependence on property tax revenue. But how large are the gaps? The Chicago Reporter waded through the finances of 857 elementary, high school, and unit districts and found ...

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It's well-known that Illinois' education funding system creates widespread inequities due to a heavy dependence on property tax revenue. But how large are the gaps? The Chicago Reporter waded through the finances of 857 elementary, high school, and unit districts and found substantial discrepancies. From the report:

- Due to the primary reliance on local property tax revenue for school funding, there are massive cumulative gaps in per-pupil spending, particularly in poor or minority communities. The 6,413 students who started elementary school in Evanston in 1994 and graduated from high school in 2007 had about $290 million more spent on their education than the same number of Chicago Public Schools students.

- The percentage of state contribution to school funding has decreased four of the last five years and is one of the lowest in the nation.

Compiled on Excel spreadsheets, the Reporter has also provided fascinating comparison data for high school districts (4-year data), elementary and unit districts (9-year data), contributions from local, state and federal governments, and schools in 10 communities within the six-county region. With the reform movement picking up steam, this should be required reading.

For more on education funding, take a look at our posts here and here, as well as Will Burns' Progress Illinois column.

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