Discussing Education Funding

As state dollars continue to be cut from public schools, a panel of legislators and gathered at city hall to discuss the problem.

Illinois has the largest number of school districts of any state, with 866 and has about $6.7 billion available to divide among them.

But the latest state report card gives Illinois an “F” for funding distribution, which the panel says is very complicated.

Curt Bradshaw, a member of the Illinois State Board of Education, says the board is working alongside the state senate to refine that process.

But he stressed that money is not the end-all/ be-all for quality education.

“Students outcomes are better in districts that received the least dollars per student in the state, than the one that received the most and so money is not the answer to all issue and it’s really making sure we have a system that holds districts accountable for performing for their students.”

Senator Christine Radogno says the pension crisis is the main underlying issue plaguing state education dollars.

“That is sucking money right out of education, human services, public safety, every single other function of this state,” said Christine Radogno, Illinois Senate Republican Leader for the 41st District. “I know we’re here to talk about education but we’ve got to get this pension crisis under control in order to get back to the leadership role we had.”

The American Association of University Women and the League of Women Voters hosted the panel.

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