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Illinois school districts to receive $395 million in additional funding

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois school districts will receive about $395 million in additional funding that was approved in the state budget last summer.

The Illinois State Board of Education sent vouchers Thursday to the comptroller’s office, which will handle distributing the additional money to more than 800 school districts. Chicago Public Schools will receive an extra $60 million.

“This marks a dramatic and meaningful turning point in Illinois for public education,” said state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill. “It’s a long time coming.”

Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s office said it’s already made preparations for the additional payments to be made once they’re approved by the board. They’ll go out at the same time as regular state aid payments on the 10th and 20th of each month. The additional payments will start next week and continue to June.

The appropriations originate from the state’s new evidence-based funding formula intended to provide a more equitable funding structure.

“Many people have spent many years of their lives advocating for this change, so today is the first day of a system that will undoubtedly serve children better,” Manar said Thursday.

Lawmakers will have to increase K-12 spending each year over the next decade for the funding formula to have its maximum effect.

The board recommended a $7.2 billion increase in its budget, saying it’s important to show what kind of funding commitment is needed to ensure each school district has adequate resources to educate its students.

Manar said ensuring that the system gets adequate funding will be the key issue going forward.