City Club of Chicago: Illinois School Funding Formula: Is It Fair?

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Karen McConnaughay, Andy Manar, Ron Sandack, and Barbara Flynn Currie during the Illinois School Funding Formula panel at the City Club of Chicago, June 27, 2016 (City Club of Chicago)

June 27, 2016

Illinois School Funding Formula: Is It Fair? – Hon. Barbara Flynn Currie, Hon. Andy Manar, Hon. Karen McConnaughay, and Hon. Ron Sandack

Barbara Flynn Currie represents the 25th District, which includes portions of the Chicago communities of Woodlawn, South Shore, Hyde Park, Kenwood, and South Chicago. The conviction of her beliefs is one of the assets that makes her so valuable in Springfield. She has served the people of the 25th District since 1979. In 1997, she became the first female Majority Leader in the history of the Illinois General Assembly.

As the second ranking House official, Barbara works closely with colleagues from both parties and all regions of the state to create solutions to the problems that face Illinois. Many organizations have honored Currie for her work in Springfield. Among them are: the Illinois Hospital Association; the Illinois AFL-CIO; the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO); the Chicago Urban League; the Illinois Nurse’s Association; the Illinois Environmental Council; the Sierra Club; and the National Association of Social Workers.

Barbara attended the University of Chicago. She graduated from the College with honors before earning a Master’s degree in Political Science. She is a member of the Chicago League of Women Voters, the Illinois Women’s Institute for Leadership, Women United for South Shore, and the Board of the ACLU of Illinois. She is active in many civic, community, and environmental organizations. She and her late husband, David P. Currie, a law professor at the University of Chicago, have two wonderful children and four grandchildren.

Born and raised in Macoupin County, State Senator Andy Manar and his wife, Trista, reside three blocks from where he grew up in Bunker Hill. Together they have three children: Abbie, Will and Ben. Manar holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and belongs to numerous civic and charitable organizations.

Before becoming a member in the General Assembly, Manar served as a Bunker Hill city councilman, mayor of Bunker Hill and eventually Macoupin County Board chairman. He was encouraged and inspired to enter public service by his mentor the late Senator Vince Demuzio. While serving his community at the local level, Manar advocated fiscal responsibility, efficient government, bipartisan cooperation, increased communication between taxpayers and elected officials and made job creation one of his top priorities.

Manar also served as Chief of Staff for Senate President John Cullerton from 2009-2012.

As the current State Senator representing the 48th District in the General Assembly, Manar has been a leading voice to overhaul our state’s outdated school funding formula, sponsoring legislation to make sure every child has access to a quality education. He also reformed the state’s lead economic development agency to make it more accountable.

The 48th District includes Springfield, Decatur, and rural communities in Macoupin, Montgomery, Madison and Christian Counties.

Karen McConnaughay is currently serving her second term as State Senator of the 33rd District.

Senator McConnaughay is the Minority Spokesperson for the Senate Transportation Committee. She also serves as a member on the Education, Energy & Public Utilities, Revenue and Financial Institutions Committees. Additionally, she serves on the Committee on Restorative Justice, Higher Education Commission on the Future of the Workforce, the Committee on Pension Investments, as well as the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR).

Upon her 2013 inauguration to the 98th General Assembly, Senator McConnaughay immediately elected to decline all Illinois State benefits including health insurance and participation in the legislative pension program.

Under her leadership, Kane County invested in the improvement of public transportation and safety, completed construction of the Stearns Road Bridge Corridor, constructed a new county jail, initiated the strengthening of emergency response services and replaced the county wide finance system.

A member of the Executive Committee for Metropolis 2020 and former Chair to the Northeastern Illinois Regional Water Supply Planning Group of The Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning Senator McConnaughay has skillfully worked with local, state and federal officials to improve the management of regional transit agencies and has called for sweeping reforms in the management of area transportation. Before her election to Chairman, she served continuously as a County Board Member from 1992-2004.

McConnaughay’s ongoing commitment to the community has included volunteer work for the Delnor Hospital Auxiliary and service on the Fox River Chapter of the Board of the American Red Cross. She also currently serves on the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) Executive Committee.

Senator McConnaughay has resided in St. Charles for nearly three decades as a parent, small business owner and grass roots activist. She and her husband, John, can often be found spending time with their three adult children and grandchildren.

Ron Sandack is the State Representative for the 81st House District, serving Bolingbrook, Darien, Downers Grove, Lisle, Naperville, Westmont and Woodridge. He is currently the House Floor Leader, or primary debater of bills, for the House Republican Caucus. He is the Co-Chairman of the House and Senate’s Joint Commission on Administrative Rules, and is the Republican Spokesperson for the Judiciary-Civil and Restorative Justice Committees in the House of Representatives. Representative Sandack files bills that focus on government consolidation, taxpayer protection, freezing property taxes, improving transparency and accountability in Springfield, and protecting seniors and veterans. This year, Representative Sandack also championed bills to impose term limits on legislators and to create a fair map process for the drawing of legislative districts in Illinois. He is the former Mayor of Downers Grove and also served on the Downers Grove Village Council.

Ron is an active supporter and sponsor of numerous local charities and organizations, including Almost Home Kids, Family Shelter Services, the Grove Foundation and Helping Girls Navigate Adolescence (HGNA). Ron is married to his wife Kevan, who he met at the University of Illinois. They live in Downers Grove with their children, Clare and Jack.

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