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Appears lawmakers have reached agreement on school funding reform

Statements’ from legislative leaders signals that Illinois’ school funding crisis may soon be coming to an end. (WRSP)

Statements’ from legislative leaders signals that Illinois’ school funding crisis may soon be coming to an end.

Late Thursday afternoon, House Republican Leader Jim Durkin, R-Western Springs, and Senate Republican Leader-designee Bill Brady, R-Bloomington, released the following statement on school funding reform negotiations:

“This afternoon the four legislative leaders and the governor reached an agreement in principle on historic school funding reform. Language will be drafted and details of the agreement released once the drafts have been reviewed. The leaders will reconvene in Springfield on Sunday in anticipation of House action on Monday.”

Soon after, House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, and Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, released this statement on school funding negotiations:

“The legislative leaders appear to have reached a bipartisan agreement in concept and will meet again on Sunday in Springfield. The Illinois House is expected to be in session on Monday at 4:30 p.m.”

Waverly Schools Superintendent Dustin Day is ready for general state aid since 25 percent of his district's funding comes from the state.

"I'm glad and I'm really fortunate that our leaders, our representatives have come to a tentative agreement so that way we can move forward with our budget and tentative levies for the fiscal year," Day said.

Day said he predicted school funding would be a hurdle for lawmakers a few years ago, but he never imagined the situation would get to this point.

“Did I anticipate that it was going to be bad? Yes,” Day said. “Did I anticipate it was going to be this severe? I'm not for sure anybody could."

Once a new funding method becomes law, the Illinois State Board of Education said it'll take about a week to release school payment vouchers to the Comptroller's office.

Jamey Dunn, deputy director of communications for the Comptroller, said once the Comptroller’s office gets the vouchers, it'll take about two days to release the funds to districts.

The Governor’s Office released the following statement Thursday:

“Governor Rauner applauds the four leaders in coming to a consensus on historic school funding reform that reflects the work of the School Funding Reform Commission. He thanks them for their leadership and looks forward to the coming days when the legislation is passed by both chambers.”

Sen. Andy Manar, a Bunker Hill Democrat and the Senate sponsor of the school funding reform legislation under negotiation by legislative leaders, issued the following statement Thursday evening:

“I am encouraged that the legislative leaders appear to have reached an agreement in concept on school funding reform. As many have reiterated time and again for years on end, the inequities that deepen with each passing day in our public schools are a horrible stain on our great state. The status quo is unjust and immoral. Our goal is simple: create a system that is both adequate and equitable for all children. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get this job done.”

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