Funded: State Policy Analysis

A Detailed Look at Each State's Funding Policies

Below, see summaries of the state’s education funding policy in each issue area. Click the Expand icon next to any summary to see more detail, if available, about that state’s policy regarding that issue area. Click the Citation icon
next to any summary to see the sources of the information regarding that issue area.
Illinois
Funding Basics
Formula Type

Illinois has a primarily student-based funding formula. It assigns a cost to the education of a student with no special needs or services, called a base amount. It then accounts for the additional cost of educating specific categories of students in a variety of ways, including through program-specific allocations, by applying multipliers to the base amount to generate supplemental funding for certain students, and by adding supplemental, flat dollar amounts to the base amount for certain students.

The categories of students generating supplemental funding in Illinois are low-income students and students in career and technical education programs. Services for English language learners and students with disabilities are funded primarily through program-specific allocations.

References:
Illinois State Board of Education. Fiscal Year 2016 Proposed Budget. Springfield, IL: Illinois State Board of Education, 2015.
Illinois State Board of Education. General State Aid Overview. Springfield, IL: Illinois State Board of Education, February 2017.
Base Amount

Illinois has a fixed base funding amount per student. For FY2017, the per-student base amount was $6,119.

This means that an average student with no special needs or disadvantages would be funded at that level.

By statute, the value of the base amount has been set at $6,119 since FY2010. This funding depends on the General Assembly and the Governor appropriating the necessary funding. When appropriations fall short of the amount necessary to fully fund state education aid, payments to districts are prorated and paid at the maximum percentage possible given appropriation amounts.  

References:
Illinois State Board of Education. General State Aid Overview. Springfield, IL: Illinois State Board of Education, February 2017.
Expected Local Share

Illinois expects school districts to contribute revenue to the funding of public schools. The amount each district is expected to raise is based on its property values and a tax rate that varies depending on the grade levels it serves.

The expected tax rate is $30.00 for every thousand dollars of assessed local property wealth for unified school district, $23.00 for elementary districts, and $10.50 high school districts. Districts are also expected to contribute revenue from the Corporate Personal Property Tax. The state calculates the total amount of funding necessary to educate students within a district, subtracts the expected local contribution, and provides the difference in the form of state education aid. However, school districts in Illinois that choose to do so may raise less or more money locally than the expected amount.

A number of districts fall in counties subject to the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law, which limits the rate by which property tax revenues can increase to the lesser of 5% or the rate of growth in the Consumer Price Index. This law prevents these districts from exceeding certain limits on their property tax rates.

References:
Illinois State Board of Education. General State Aid Overview. Springfield, IL: Illinois State Board of Education, February 2017.
Student Characteristics
Grade Level

Illinois does not differentiate funding based on students’ grade levels.

English Language Learner

Illinois provides increased funding for English language learners. It does so through a reimbursement system, in which districts are partially reimbursed for the cost of providing services for bilingual education.

School districts serving 20 or more English language learners in the same school who speak the same language are required to provide a transitional bilingual education program. For fewer than 20 students, the district is expected to provide a transition program involving English as a second language and native language instruction to the extent practical.

Reimbursements are provided quarterly. The amount provided is in proportion to each district's English language learner population and the amount and intensity of services it provides.  When the total appropriation for the reimbursement is not sufficient to fully reimburse for the cost of approved services, the reimbursement is prorated.  In FY2015, the amount appropriated was $63.7 million, covering approximately 65% of program costs.

References:
Illinois State Board of Education. Fiscal Year 2016 Proposed Budget. Springfield, IL: Illinois State Board of Education, 2015.
Student Poverty

Illinois provides increased funding for students from low-income households. Funding is determined using a formula that takes into account the concentration of low-income students in the district and is dispensed in the form of a grant for each low-income student. Districts receive at least $355 per low-income student.

The number of students eligible for this supplemental funding is determined by a non-duplicated count of children receiving services through Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

If a district has a district concentration ratio (DCR), or proportion of students eligible for this supplemental funding, of less than 15%, it is awarded the minimum grant of $355 per student. If the concentration is 15% or higher, the following formula is used to determine the per-pupil amount: [294.25 + (2,700 x DCR^2)] x low-income pupils.

References:
Illinois State Board of Education. General State Aid Overview. Springfield, IL: Illinois State Board of Education, February 2017.
Special Education

Illinois funds special education using a hybrid system incorporating census-based assumptions and partial reimbursements.

Special education services are mostly funded through an appropriation equal to the statewide count of students with disabilities times 17.5% of the per-student base amount. This appropriation is distributed to districts according to a calculation based mostly (85%) on total student enrollment and to a lesser degree (15%) on proportions of students in poverty, but not based on their numbers of students with disabilities. The state also reimburses districts for a portion of their prior-year staff costs associated with the education of disabled students (rates are specified for different positions). The state also reimburses up to 80% of districts’ transportation expenditures for disabled students.

The remainder of state special education funding is distributed through specific program-based allocations, including partial reimbursement for private school placements, funding for high-cost students, tuition for students under state guardianship, support for special schools and institutions, and funding for summer school. Chicago, however, receives a separate block grant for its special education services and is not included in any of the above census-based allocations or reimbursements.

References:
Division of Funding and Disbursement Services. Illinois State Board of Education. Overview of State Special Education Funding. Springfield, IL: Illinois State Board of Education, May 2017.
Imler, Tim. Division Administrator for Funding and Disbursements. Illinois State Board of Education. Email message to EdBUild. October 20, 2015.
Gifted

Illinois does not provide additional resources for gifted and talented students.

Career and Technical Education

Illinois provides specific funding for career and technical education programs. It does so through a program-based allocation for which the state appropriated approximately $38.1 million in FY2016.

These funds are distributed to districts primarily through a formula that is based on the number of career and technical education credits earned by their students. Some funding is also reserved for competitive grants for state leadership initiatives in the area of career and technical education.

References:
Illinois State Board of Education. Fiscal Year 2016 Proposed Budget. Springfield, IL: Illinois State Board of Education, 2015.
Community Characteristics
District Poverty

Illinois provides increased funding to certain districts based on the concentrations of students from low- income households that they serve. It does so by increasing the per-student amount provided for students from low-income households (see “Student Poverty” for a description of this allocation) as the concentration of low-income students in the district increases.

Grant amounts range from $355 to $2,994.25 per student. Specifically, the grant is $355 per low-income student if the district’s concentration of such students is less than 15%. If the concentration is 15% or higher, the following formula is used to determine the per-pupil amount: [294.25 + (2,700 (DCR^2)] X low-income pupils. The per-student grant in a district made up entirely of low-income students would therefore be $2,994.25.

The number of students eligible for this supplemental funding is determined by a non-duplicated count of children receiving services through Medicaid, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

References:
Illinois State Board of Education. General State Aid Overview. Springfield, IL: Illinois State Board of Education, February 2017.
Sparsity and/or Small Size

Illinois does not provide increased funding for sparse districts or small schools.