ISBE: Increase, Not Reduce, School Spending

Illinois educational officials told a Senate panel Friday that a lack of money makes it the “worst of times” for public schools.

State funding has been slashed in recent years – and another round of cuts has been proposed.

Chris Slaby reports.

Andrea Brown began teaching in Illinois in 1957.

Now a member of the State Board of Education, Brown said even when compared to previous economic struggles …

BROWN: “I have never seen our schools in such free fall.”

Governor Pat Quinn’s budget proposal would cut state funding to schools by more than $300 million.

The board, though, says its budget should be increased – by almost $900 million– to make up for cuts over the last five years.

Board Chairman Gery Chico said the state does not pay what is needed for students to receive what he calls an “adequate” education.

CHICO: “This formula we’re working off of right now – it’s a clunker. This thing belongs in the Smithsonian.”

State Superintendent Christopher Koch says more than $4 billion in additional money is needed to reach an “adequate” level.

He says two-thirds of Illinois school districts are operating with budget deficits.

—Chris Slaby

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