FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Thursday, May 26, 2016
For more information, contact:
CPS Office of Communications
SPRINGFIELD, ILL. – Chicago Public Schools today joined Funding Illinois Future Coalition members, including the Citizens for Education Pana, Citizens for Education Taylorville, Illinois for Education Equity, Faith Coalition for the Common Good, Gamaliel of Illinois, Gamaliel of Metro Chicago, LULAC of Illinois, Pilsen Neighbors Community Council, Tri-County Urban League, United Congregations of Metro East, Our Students Our Future and more than 2,000 superintendents, parents and educators representing a dozen school districts from across the state to urge the Illinois General Assembly and Governor Rauner to fix Illinois’ broken education funding system, which is last in the nation when it comes to funding K-12 students.
“Today, we joined other school districts across the state to demand Governor Rauner provide fair education funding,” said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool. “I want to thank the thousands of supporters who made the trip downstate. Today, with one voice, CPS and school districts throughout Illinois stood in solidarity in calling for an equitable funding system that will allow all children access to a quality education.”
Supporters of state education funding reform today urged the Illinois House to pass legislation that will adjust the state’s public school funding formula to ensure that high-poverty and high needs districts across the state are funded equitably so that all of the state’s school children have access to a high quality education. Currently, the system is nearly last nationwide in overall state funding, and also penalizes property-poor districts throughout Illinois.
Under Governor Rauner’s current education funding proposal for next year, CPS stands to lose $74 million while several wealthy districts across the state would face no funding consequence. In some cases, those districts even gain funding. The Governor's approach would continue the decades-old regressive formula, helping districts that are already wealthy and placing a greater burden on districts that have high needs and serve a higher concentration of families living in poverty.
Participants in today’s Day of Action represented both suburban and urban districts across Illinois included:
- Pana School District 8
- Harrisburg School District
- Taylorville School District
- East Aurora School District 131
- Waukegan CUSD 60
- Berwyn South School District 98
- East Moline School District 37
- North Chicago CUSD 187
- Vandalia School District 203
- Sandoval School District
- Peoria Public Schools
- Chicago Public Schools District 299
Illinois has the most inequitable school funding system of any state in the entire nation. Research shows that students living in poverty need additional resources in order to succeed. But, instead of giving them those resources, the state shortchanges students with the most need. This has created a system where wealthy districts in Illinois can spend as much as $30,000 per student, while the poorest barely spends $6,000.
The current education funding system is a web of complicated formulas that result in less than half of all state education dollars going to school districts based on a local district’s ability to pay for local schools. More than half of state education dollars go to districts regardless of their wealth, shortchanging poor districts with students who have greater needs.
Despite these challenges, the General Assembly has demonstrated recent progress toward fixing the state’s broken funding formula. Several school districts which are currently facing funding disadvantages—many of which have a high density of children in poverty and special needs—under the current formula would stand to benefit from the equity proposed in the Better Funding for Better Schools Act (SB231).
Without some type of reform or additional assistance, many districts across the state face the stark reality of having to make historic staffing and programmatic cuts.