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Reforming Education Funding

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School starts for most Chicago Public Schools students in exactly one week. But many may not show up for that first day—at least not at their own schools. State Senator Reverend James Meeks is organizing a boycott to protest a longtime state funding formula that provides schools in wealthy districts with more money than those in poorer districts. Next Tuesday, he plans to bus Chicago students to New Trier High School in Winnetka and try to enroll them there. That is, unless Chicago Public School officials publicly agree to support a $120 million plan to reform the state's worst schools. 

The plan has caused considerable controversy—with school officials, legislators, the mayor, and church pastors weighing in among others. And a much bigger issue remains: few people deny that relying on property taxes to fund schools is unfair. But how can that formula be fixed?

With us now to talk about some of the possible solutions are: Jeff Kelly Lowenstein who writes about education issues for The Chicago Reporter. Joe Anderson is the executive director of the Illinois Education Association, a union of educators throughout the state. And Republican State Representative Roger Eddy joins us on the phone. He's also the superintendent of the Hutsonville Consolidated School District in downstate Illinois.

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