State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit, D-Oswego, says Oswego School District officials are being disingenuous as they continue to call for the state to meet its financial obligations to the district under the state’s Evidence Based Funding formula.

"This same, tired dialogue has been going on for years," Kifowit said.

"The perpetual underlying assertion is that the state is not living up to their obligations is disingenuous," she continued "To continually go down this line of dialogue, I think is disingenuous."

The Evidence Based Funding (EBF) formula, signed into law in 2017 by Governor Bruce Rauner, is intended to fund school districts equally by placing schools in a tier system to help determine how much funding they receive from the state.

The exact amount of state funds is determined through several steps, including calculating a district’s adequacy target – the cost of educating all students. The adequacy target for OSD 308 determined by the state is $224,180,974 – the amount it would take to fund the district to educate its students. OSD 308 is at 63% of its adequacy target for EBF.

The district is designated a Tier 1 district, meaning it should be receiving the greatest portion of funds allocated by the state.

As previously reported in the Oswego Ledger, OSD 308 officials have said the state will not fully fund the district through the EBF formula by 2027, as required by the law. Instead, district administrators have projected that the state will not meet its funding requirements until 2037.

The bottom line, Kifowit said, is to fully fund the EBF formula the state needs $7 billion dollars – money it does not have.

"What we’re trying to do is we have a 10-year plan at $350 million…to try to get to at least half of that," she said, adding that funding this year was raised to $375 million in Governor JB Pritzker’s budget.

"We all recognize that 10 times $350 million is $3.5 billion. It’s not like the state is trying to hide anything," Kifowit said. "It is a goal that we’re going to get to that, but it seems like the only district…that continues to act like this is some conspiracy from the state is (District) 308."

The state recognizes the shortfalls in funding, she said, and will continue to work towards increasing funding each year. But, she added, every year OSD 308 gets more money based on EBF.

"For School District 308 to continue to point out the situation, is really disingenuous," Kifowit said. "The state is committed to fund education and to work towards equitable funding and to work towards our goals to the best of our ability."

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via | Kendall County Record

August 26, 2019 at 09:55PM