CPS budget shortfalls indicate urgent need for new revenues - Metropolitan Planning Council

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CPS budget shortfalls indicate urgent need for new revenues

A+ Illinois calls on state Leaders to fund education quality initiatives.

The following is a statement from A+ Illinois, released in response to Gov. Blagojevich’s Budget Address. MPC is a member of A+ Illinois, a statewide campaign led by groups and individuals committed to real reform in the quality and funding of public education for all Illinois children.

Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan announced a $180 million shortfall in the district’s 2008-09 budget, after making $90 million worth of cuts.

A+ Illinois,the state'sleading advocate for school quality and funding reform, calls on state leaders to solve Illinois’ school funding crisis with a new, sustainable source of revenue. Currently, Illinois provides less than one-third of school revenues, placing it 48th in the nation for the state’s share of funding. Without new revenues, such as a modest increase in the state income tax, schools across Illinois will fall even further behind.

Chicago Schools Positioned for Major Quality Improvements

Despite the high percentage of families living in poverty, CPS students have made incredible progress in recent years, with the potential to achieve much more. There is a growing national consensus around research-proven practices that produce results in the classroom, such as longer school days and school years, after-school and summer-school programs, smaller class sizes in the early grades, and highly-qualified teachers and principals.

Chicago schools are ready to implement the practices to boost student achievement. But without a commitment of new resources from Springfield, these measures simply cannot be realized.

Illinois Soon to be Dead-Last in School Funding and Fairness

Illinois has consistently ranked 49th in the nation for its gap in resources between rich and poor students, and white and minority students, according to the Education Trust , a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit.

And now New York—the only state ranking lower than Illinois—has taken action to reverse its funding disparities. In 2006, New York’s legislature provided an unprecedented $7 billion increase in school funding over four years, targeting aid to the state’s poorest districts. New York now holds individual districts more accountable for distributing additional resources to high-need, low-performing students and schools, and investing in practices proven to boost student achievement.

“The rest of the world will not wait for Illinois to get its act together,” said Mary Ellen Guest, A+ Illinois campaign manager. “In a few short years, today’s schoolchildren will be asked to compete globally for the high-tech jobs of the new economy. Will they be prepared?”

Guest urged Gov. Blagojevich and the General Assembly to find additional, long-term revenues for schools, such as a modest increase in the state income tax. “The stakes are simply too high for Illinois to deny any student the opportunity to succeed,” she added.

A+ Illinois is a coalition of over 50,000 individuals and 500 organizations working to improve the quality and funding of all Illinois schools.

For more information, please contact: Mary Ellen Guest, A+ Illinois Campaign Manager, at 312-513-6022 (cell) or meguest@aplusillinois.org , or Clare Fauke, A+ Illinois Communications Director, at 312-802-2302 (cell) or cfauke@aplusillinois.org .

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