What is Evidence-Based Funding?

Why It Matters to Chicago Parents

On August 31, 2017, Illinois replaced one of the most inequitable K-12 public education funding formulas in the country with the “Evidence-Based Funding for Student Success Act,” or “EBF.” The primary goal of EBF is to ensure that the state's K-12 funding is distributed more equitably and fairly across school districts.

EBF is considered to be a “best practice” in school funding for numerous reasons — key among them is that the formula accounts for the cost of evidence-based educational practices to determine how much funding each school needs. The EBF formula starts by figuring out how much money is needed for the basic things every district needs, like school staff and up-to-date materials. Then, additional funding goes to districts that serve a higher number of students with greater needs, such as special education students, English Language Learners (ELLs), and low-income students.

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) funding primarily comes from local and state sources, with state funding accounting for about 30% of CPS’s budget. Since EBF came into existence, CPS has received nearly $300 million in additional state funding. Now is the time to ask our Springfield representatives to increase funding for the EBF formula and fulfill their promise of fully funding all Illinois school districts.

Who determines how much goes into the formula?

The amount of state funding that goes toward EBF is determined annually by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the Governor, and the Illinois General Assembly.

When Illinois created EBF, the State promised that all school districts would be fully funded by 2027. The formula has improved funding at CPS since 2017, but the annual amount of additional funding for EBF needs to be substantially increased if Springfield intends to keep its promise. According to the Center on Tax and Budget Accountability, it could take until fiscal year 2038 before the formula is fully funded if Springfield continues to contribute the minimum funding amount of $350M each year.

What’s the impact of Evidence-Based Funding on Illinois Districts?

Since EBF came into existence, CPS has received nearly $300 million in additional state funding. CPS is still $1.4 billion away from being fully and adequately funded.

This additional state funding could provide over $4,300 in NEW per-student funding. For CPS this would mean each student gets nearly double the funding they receive currently.

Districts have used this additional new funding in many different ways including increasing support and programming for students, dual language programs, smaller class sizes and more teachers in classrooms, more full-time positions, supplementing budgets and supplies and improving accessibility needs.

About the Funding Illinois’ Future Coalition

Advance Illinois, a statewide education advocacy organization, is leading a campaign – Funding Illinois’ Future – of statewide organizations to advocate for increased EBF funding. K1C is an active member of the coalition. Kids First’s parent-led Equitable Funding Task Force and the Funding Illinois’ Future Coalition are collaborative and committed to fully funding all Illinois districts.

Evidence-Based Funding: What You Need to Know

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