Manar looks back on Senate tenure, forward on role in Pritzker administration

He leaves behind a broad legacy, one that has touched the lives of millions of people throughout the state, including those who have never met him.

His most important role was that of reforming the state’s long-troubled school financing laws. His bill, signed into law in 2017, was one that he takes credit for, but one that he knows he didn’t do alone.

"It’s because thousands of people stood up and demanded change," Manar said. "Through the ups and downs, the setbacks and the advances, that only got over the finish line because of regular folks — parents, teachers, principals, administrators, community leaders raising their voices and telling the General Assembly and Gov. (Bruce) Rauner that they wanted the world to change."

Manar said the school funding system in Illinois was the least equitable system in the U.S. Through his funding legislation, he was able to give schools in poorer areas first priority for state money. When looking back on his legislation, Manar said that it was the kind of change in state school funding that only comes along once in a while.

"It was a generational change, there is no doubt about it," Manar said. "It’s humbling to know that my name is associated with that, but I want to be crystal clear, that didn’t happen because of me."

Even though the school funding bill has had a massive impact on how schools receive state dollars, he remembers a vote from early in his tenure as being the most important one he made.


January 17, 2021 at 08:18AM

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