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