Herald & Review: Compromise a must on schools bill

To twist a cliché, when Chicago sneezes, Illinois catches a cold.

Such could be the case with Senate Bill 1, crafted by Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, that tweaks the archaic and imbalanced formula setting how much state money goes to Illinois school districts.

The legislation awaiting approval from GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner has sparked a strong tug-of-war in Springfield — which is really saying something in a state that hasn’t had a proper budget in almost three years.

Supporters say it guarantees any new funding allocated to education be sent to school districts most in need. But critics see the changes as a pure bailout of the Chicago Public Schools, which faces a profound financial black hole and ballooning pension obligations.

In other words, it’s the vintage Chicago-versus-downstate narrative that thwarts so much of our state’s evolution.

Chicago’s sniffles are being heard far and wide, and they might wreck the whole thing. And that’s bad for Decatur schools.

Here’s why: For school districts with high poverty rates, changing the school-funding formula is the clearest solution to making sure money is directed to students in a fair way.