SPRINGFIELD — Lawmakers might be heading back to the drawing board to assess the state's school funding distribution methods.

In action Tuesday, a Senate panel endorsed a plan that would create an advisory committee to look at general state aid education funding and how it's spent across the state.

State Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, who sponsored the measure, said the methods for financing schools need attention.

"The distribution method of general state aid doesn't address the districts that are on the lower end of the spending spectrum," Manar said. "We have disparity that is getting worse in the state, not getting better."

Changes in the economy, poverty rates and property values that impact funding aren't being adequately addressed, as there has not been a formal review of the issue since 1998, he said.

The committee would assess funding distribution of the current pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade system and provide recommendations by Feb. 1, 2014. It would consist of 12 members, with six members appointed by leaders of each chamber.

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Illinois has cut $861 million from the total pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade budget since 2009.

The plan now goes to the full Senate.

The legislation is Senate Joint Resolution 32.

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I'm the city editor at the Quad-City Times. You can reach me at dbowerman@qctimes.com or 563-383-2450.