FIF Response to Governor Pritzker’s FY24 Budget Address

Last week, during the Governor’s State of the State/Budget Address, Governor Pritzker proposed an increase of $350 million for the Evidence-based Funding formula (EBF) in FY24. We echo the Governor’s sentiments that every student deserves a high-quality education.  And although this funding proposal will allow districts in Illinois to get closer to adequate full funding, it is not enough. We believe more can and must be done to accelerate our pathway to adequate and equitable funding in Illinois for our K-12 students. Especially, considering that, after five years of EBF, over one million students are still in school districts funded below 75% of adequacy.

We still have a long way to go to fulfill our promise of fully funding K-12 education in our state. If we continue at the current pace and add only $350 million each year in new funds to EBF, it will take more than two decades from its passage in 2017—to fully fund all Illinois schools. That’s another generation of students. Increasing new funds to EBF by at least $550M will cut the time to full funding in half and ensure our students have what they need to thrive.

We are at a critical juncture. Students and schools are still reeling from a once-in-a-century pandemic.  We owe it to them to deliver the resources they need to regain lost ground. Parents, educators, school leaders and students are clear: their districts need increased, sustained funding to better meet the needs of their school community, especially as temporary federal relief funds expire.

We are now urging the Illinois General Assembly to fulfill their promise to our K-12 students and invest at least $550M in EBF in FY24.  This increased investment in EBF will be transformational, not only for current students, but for future generations. While we appreciate the proposed $350M in EBF from Governor Pritzker, it simply isn’t enough to meet this moment in time, to make up for the lost year of EBF funding during COVID, or to ensure our students come out of COVID-19 stronger than ever.