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No. 72: The Heartland Report on School Finance Reform for Illinois: Part 1

May 1, 1996

In his January 1996 State of the State address, Governor Jim Edgar told legislators: "We rely too heavily on property taxes to fund education in Illinois. It is time to squarely address these issues.

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In his January 1996 State of the State address, Governor Jim Edgar told legislators: "We rely too heavily on property taxes to fund education in Illinois. It is time to squarely address these issues. And I am optimistic you and I can do so during this legislative session."

One month later, the Governor's Commission on Education Funding released its report calling for, among other things: Increasing the state's share of school funding to 50 percent of a "foundation" level of approximately $4,225 per pupil; reducing the range of variation in funding among school districts; granting $1.5 billion in local property tax relief; and placing a constitutional amendment on the November 1996 ballot calling on lawmakers to implement these policies.

Our reply to the Commission tracks the organization of its own report. Our goal was to produce a comprehensive report on school finance in Illinois that can serve as a reference for future debate and policy decisions. A second report by the same authors, also published by The Heartland Institute, advances an alternative reform plan to put Illinois on a course to having a world-class school system. We hope to work with members of the Commission and many other individuals on this urgent task.

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Author
Joseph Bast is a Senior Fellow at The Heartland Institute. He cofounded Heartland in 1984, serving as executive director then as president & CEO until January 2018. His research and writing focuses on climate change and energy policy.
jbast@heartland.org @JosephLBast
Author
George Clowes is former Heartland senior fellow addressing education policy. He served as founding managing editor of School Reform News between November 1996 and January 2005.
Author
Robert Genetski, Ph.D., one of the nation’s leading economists and financial advisors, has spent more than 35 years promoting the use of classical economic and investment principles for sound financial decisions. He heads ClassicalPrinciples.
rgenetski@classicalprinciples.com @EconBobG