With Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s candidacy announcement this past weekend, the 2006 gubernatorial campaign is officially in full swing. In response, A+ Illinois today issued a call for each of the candidates for governor of Illinois to remain focused on the important issues in this campaign – including how they intend to improve education, health care, and the state’s fiscal health – instead of making indefensible “no-tax” pledges.
)… With Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s candidacy
announcement this past weekend, the 2006 gubernatorial campaign is officially in
full swing. In response, A+ Illinois today issued a call for each of the
candidates for governor of Illinois to remain focused on the important issues in
this campaign – including how they intend to improve education, health care, and
the state’s fiscal health – instead of making indefensible “no-tax”
“We need leaders who will address the needs of
children, families and communities, particularly our broken school-funding
system that denies far too many of our children a chance for a decent
education,” said Bindu Batchu, A+ Illinois campaign manager.
“At this point, a no tax pledge is
irresponsible, cutting off the public’s right to a full discussion on this
issue, and prematurely tying the hands of
’ future governor on ways to solve the
most pressing challenges facing our state.”
is a national poster child for an inadequate and
inequitable school-funding system, confirmed by several recent national
Education Week 's "Quality
Counts 2006" report gave
a dismal D+ for equity in school
funding. Meanwhile, the Education Trust's "Funding Gap 2005" report named
the worst perpetrators of inequitable spending, with the nation’s second largest
per-student funding gap between high-poverty and low-poverty school districts.
The state continues to under-invest in education, falling over $1,200 short per
pupil of providing the bare essentials necessary for a quality education,
according to the Education Funding Advisory Board, appointed by the governor to
recommend the per-pupil foundation level guaranteed by the state.
As the state continues to underfund its share of
school funding, local property taxpayers must bear the burden of funding public
schools. The state continues to rank 49th among the 50 states in terms of the
state's share of education funding.
This arrangement is placing an ever-growing burden on small business
owners, seniors on fixed incomes, and thousands of hardworking families across
who are struggling to afford escalating property
cannot compete in today’s global
economy if we can’t properly educate tomorrow’s workforce,” Batchu said.
“School-funding reform based on
adequate, sustainable revenue sources and meaningful property tax relief can
improve the financial situation of working families and ensure that every school
district has the basic resources to invest in programs that help close the
student achievement gap.”
recent years, the governor and General Assembly have relied on a series of
unsustainable and one-time revenue sources to close a multi-billion-dollar
budget deficit, including diverting payments from teacher and state worker
pensions and raiding fund balances from other state programs.
The pension deferral is expected to
increase the state’s debt by at least $1 billion, requiring future generations
to pay more for funding today’s services.
adding insult to injury to Illinois’ children to pass the bill for today’s
services to our future generations while the state fails to guarantee a sound,
basic education to every child,”
for state office must leave every possible revenue option on the table for
discussion in the search for solutions to the puzzle of ensuring a decent
education for every child and maintaining strong public services for our
children, families and communities.”
election year, A+ Illinois urges legislators, the governor and candidates for
state office to demonstrate creative, engaged leadership by putting children
before politics by committing to fix Illinois' broken school funding system and
leaving all options open to address Illinois’ most pressing fiscal problems and
Illinois is a statewide campaign for education quality and funding reform that
has more than 100 endorsers, representing a broad range of civic, education,
children's advocacy, business, labor, civil rights, faith-based, human services,
and community organizations.