The Governor’s budget proposal is another blow to public education in Illinois. Most Illinois students go to classrooms that remain well below adequate funding levels. Schools have yet to receive any dollars from the new funding formula. The budget proposal reduces year-over-year investment in education and shifts costs to districts, increasing inequity and inadequacy and reliance on local property taxes. Money shifted to pensions means fewer dollars for classrooms and reduces the capacity of some schools to implement the evidence-based practices which help students achieve academically.

From our coalition perspective, this breaks from our core principles of equity and adequacy. The proposal does not:

1. Recognize individual student needs
2. Account for differences in local resources
3. Close funding gaps and keep them closed
4. Provide a stable, sustainable system that gets all districts to adequacy over time
5. Ensure no district loses money

Last year’s signing of SB1947 was a bipartisan celebration and held the promise of a new era for public education. This budget breaks that promise and reverts back to the same old story in Illinois: an inequitable system that provides fewer dollars to the state’s low-income students. The remaining cleanup to SB1947 must be resolved in this session of the General Assembly so that money can begin to flow to schools. With the new formula, Illinois has a path to equitable and adequate school funding. But the state must make significant investments in the FY19 budget—-without shifting costs—-to start us down that path. We are disappointed that the Governor’s proposal does not match this shared value of investing in our schools, and on Valentine’s Day we urge the creation of a budget with more heart.

“The lack of state funding for education has impacted the lives of our students,” said Tony Sanders, CEO of School District U-46. “There are no current U-46 students who have ever experienced elementary classrooms staffed below 28 kids to a teacher in grades kindergarten through 2nd grade, or had access to extended learning, or one-to-one technology. We have no teachers who have had daily access to core instruction facilitators as called for in the Evidence Based Funding model.”

“Because of underfunding, Sandoval can’t find the teachers we need or provide classes such as foreign language, art, music and PE,” said Superintendent Jennifer Garrison of Sandoval School District 501. “We also face a shortage of qualified teaching candidates because we cannot offer competitive salaries. The Governor’s budget proposal would continue to strain our district and our students.”

About Fix the Formula Illinois
Fix the Formula Illinois is a campaign of Advance Illinois, Association of Illinois Rural and Small Schools, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, Educators 4 Excellence, Equity First, Faith Coalition for the Common Good, Funding Illinois’ Future, Gamaliel of Illinois, Gamaliel of Metro Chicago, High School District Organizations of Illinois, Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education, Illinois Association of School Administrators, Illinois Association of School Business Officials, Illinois for Educational Equity, Illinois Parent Teacher Association, Illinois Principals Association, Instituto del Progreso Latino, Latino Policy Forum, League of United Latin American Citizens, Noble Network, Ounce of Prevention Fund, Pilsen Neighbors Community Council, Quad County Urban League, South Suburban Action Conference, Springfield Urban League, Taylorville Citizens for Education, Teach Plus Illinois, Tri-County Urban League, United Congregations of the Metro East, Urban Muslim Minority Alliance and Vision 20/20. Learn more about the Fix the Formula Illinois campaign at www.fundingilfuture.org/fixtheformulaillinois and the Funding Illinois’ Future coalition at https://fundingilfuture.org/about/.