Your articles detailing the appalling condition of textbooks in many Illinois
public schools should be a wake-up call that something is seriously wrong with
school funding in this state ("Aging textbooks fail Illinois kids; Throughout
the state, schoolchildren are using books that are falling apart and badly
out-of-date," Page 1, April 16, and "Turnaround on textbooks; Legislators,
education officials seek more funds," Metro, April 20).
Fall-apart, out-of-date textbooks are just the tip of the iceberg that is the
overall school funding crisis in Illinois, and addressing just the textbook
funding issue with a line item in the state’s budget is akin to putting duct
tape on a textbook-it’s a Band-Aid solution that does nothing to fix the larger
The majority of school districts in this state are struggling to pay their
bills, and our students are suffering.
Some are learning from woefully inadequate textbooks, while others are
experiencing larger class sizes and fewer class options as districts are forced
to lay off teachers and cut important programs to balance their budgets.
Local property taxpayers are feeling the pinch, too, as school districts
continue to push local tax referendums to cover their debts.
The lack of funding for our schools has real effects that are only getting
worse. Without action from our state leaders, our children and the quality of
their education will continue to be a major casualty of this system.
This election year, let’s elect leaders who will do more than help schools
afford better books.
Let’s do what’s needed to help all schools in Illinois balance their budgets
and remain on firm fiscal footing to ensure that all students have the resources
they need to succeed.