Crossing the line separating Indiana and Illinois sometimes means dealing with different laws and customs. Readers are asked to share ideas for this weekly feature. This week: School funding.
Arne Duncan, the U.S. secretary of education and former Chicago schools chief, last week said, "Illinois is the model of how not to fund public education."
Under the Illinois Constitution, the state is required to cover at least 50 percent of the cost of public schools. But Illinois' continued use of a 1970s school funding formula means most schools get barely 30 percent of their funds from the state.
To make up for that shortfall, many Illinois school districts levy high property taxes — significantly driving up the cost of owning a home.
Since 2009, classroom instruction in Indiana schools has been fully funded by the state, a practice that has increased the availability of charter schools and private school vouchers.
However, Indiana school corporations still rely on capped property tax revenues to pay for student transportation, debt service, capital projects and other local non-instructional costs.