Capital Dispatch

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Lawmakers haggle over state aid for schools

SPRINGFIELD—Despite last-minute negotiations over the Memorial Day weekend, the House and Senate remained at odds over how much to raise the basic ‘foundation level’ of per-pupil funding for schools and how to pay for it.

Earlier this spring, lawmakers passed a bill that would increase the level by $250. But a second bill that would pay for the increase by closing corporate tax loopholes passed in the Senate, then failed in the House by a vote of 23 to 81, despite support from House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Opponents said they feared the bill would alienate businesses. At Catalyst press time, Madigan had proposed a spending plan to keep state government operating, but the plan did not address school funding. Increasing the foundation level to $5,060 from $4,810 would provide another $105 million for Chicago schools next year.