SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A panel of top Democratic House lawmakers has been quietly meeting to discuss a proposed overhaul of Illinois' dated school funding formula, which, if approved, would direct more state money to poorer rural districts at the expense of wealthier suburban districts.

Members of the group told The Associated Press the meetings came at the behest of House Speaker Michael Madigan, whose chamber declined to take up the issue last spring despite its passage by the Senate and widespread calls for the first revamp of the formula in nearly two decades.

Will Davis, chairman of the House Elementary and Secondary Education Appropriations Committee, said at least three of the meetings were held over the summer, and hearings on the issue are planned for after the November election.

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