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Friday, Jan 24, 2014

* From a press release

The Illinois State Board of Education today called on lawmakers and the Governor to invest in students and the state’s economic future by changing their budgeting focus to increase the state’s share of funding for education. In order for Illinois to remain competitive nationally and internationally, Board members contend the state needs to move toward making K-12 education account for one-third of the state budget. As part of their request, the Board is asking that lawmakers honor the General State Aid (GSA) Foundation Level commitment of $6,119 per student. School districts have not received the full share of GSA promised to them under state law for the past three years.

Historically, Illinois’ State General Funds budget has dedicated approximately 27 percent to K-12 education. However, in order to increase economic vitality for the future, the Board is calling for a shift to 33 percent of the total state budget. The increase being sought on behalf of Illinois students is $1.08 billion dollars. When adjusting the FY09 K-12 education budget for inflation, the Board’s request amounts to a 1.5 percent decrease from the adjusted FY09 levels. Based on FY14 funding levels, the Board’s request would account for about 31 percent of the State General Funds budget.

“There is no doubt this is a lot of money, and some may scoff at our request, but we cannot shortchange our students, because we’re only hurting our state’s future,” said State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico.

That works out to a billion dollars.

* AP

The bulk of the $1 billion increase, $879 million, is tied to the board’s push to fully fund the base level of funding for the state’s two million public school students.

Other proposed increases outlined in the plan include:

• $27.1 million for districts to administer a new test test called Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, which is similar to the ACT.

• $25 million for early childhood education programs designed to boost the number of students served in preschool programs by more than 5,500.

• $2 million to provide assistance to low-income students taking Advance Placement exams.

* But that’s not all the board wants. Back to the press release

In addition to the General Funds request, the Board’s recommendation includes a $450 million capital request to support districts as they improve their technology infrastructure. This funding will be targeted toward improving the connectivity of buildings to broadband internet service as well as improving the network capabilities with the classroom. This request does not include funding for individual devices.

State revenues are projected to drop about $1.2 billion next fiscal year.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


30 Comments
  1. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 11:52 am:

    It’s like being a Cubs fan.

    “Better luck next year.”


  2. - Ghost - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 11:52 am:

    We only need to educate the kids of the top 1% of earners. the rest are just slated to work minimium wage jobs to feed that top 1%. Since those kids can afford private schools we might as well just defund education….. its not like our future prosperity is tied to the education and development of our children/population.


  3. - anon - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 11:55 am:

    I am all for investing in education but my fear is that with additional funding school Superintendent and administrator salaries would grow even more obscene.


  4. - largemammal - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    This lays the groundwork for Quinn to make an education push in the SOTS next week.


  5. - Diogenes in DuPage - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    – I am all for investing in education but my fear is that with additional funding school Superintendent and administrator salaries would grow even more obscene. –

    The days of “obscene” educator pay raises are gone — not as politically possible for the foreseeable future. However, Chris Koch, Gerry Chico, & other state board members know in their heart of hearts that the money and vision just aren’t there in our legislature. Illinois is like most of its families — living paycheck to paycheck, and losing ground. When (if) Illinois gets its financial house in order, it may then find itself with legislators and a governor who vision, plan and implement a better future for its people.


  6. - Wensicia - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 12:11 pm:

    I don’t think we need another test. We’ve lost valuable instructional time due to prepping for and assessing with multiple tests; we don’t need to lose any more.


  7. - anon - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 12:21 pm:

    “The days of “obscene” educator pay raises are gone…”

    I draw a distinction between “educators and superintendents/administrators”. Educators are in the classroom teaching our children and their salaries are not now or ever been obscene. In my local school district teachers start around $30-$34,000 with small intermittent increases. Our superintendent makes in excess of $250,000 and created a job for his low-performing teacher wife paying over $100,000. This excess is repeated in every school district in Illinois….this is my concern.


  8. - hisgirlfriday - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

    Oh good. Another standardized test. More money taken from kids and put in the pockets of for-profit test makers. Less time learning in school. More data to either be ignored by legislators who have no more money to pay for reforms to education anyway or that may be ignored just because of how unreliable it may be given the huge amount of cheating by schools that goes on to distort the test results.


  9. - CapnCrunch - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 12:33 pm:

    I speak frequently with an elementary school teacher. He is constantly frustrated by the fact that the parents of his failing students never show up for parent teacher meetings. He’s also frustrated by having to teach to the common common standards. I have never heard him say he needs better technology. If his concerns are widespread, I do not see how additional money will address either of these problems.


  10. - Anon - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 12:36 pm:

    == The bulk of the $1 billion increase, $879 million, is tied to the board’s push to fully fund the base level of funding for the state’s two million public school students.==

    In other words, they want to reduce the widest spending disparities in the nation between the have and have-not districts by putting more funding into property-poor districts. When one district is spending 11 times more per student
    than another, that´s hardly equal opportunity.


  11. - Newsclown - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 12:46 pm:

    Ask Bruce to just pay for it out of his pocket.


  12. - Formerly Known As... - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 12:47 pm:

    === This lays the groundwork for Quinn to make an education push in the SOTS next week. ===

    Quinn already made his push. 4 years ago and every day since.

    He told each of us that he wanted a 1% tax increase for an “education surcharge”.

    Quinn got the 1% “education surcharge” he campaigned on, and then some. And this, apparently, is what it got our education system.

    Anything and everything Quinn may say about “education” in the future should be taken with a large grain of salt. He has discredited himself on this issue.


  13. - MOON - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 1:07 pm:

    More money is not the answer.

    Parent involvement is the answer.


  14. - John Galt - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 1:10 pm:

    1) aI agree w/ a lot of the others. It’s key to make a distinction between administrators and the actual in-classroom professionals. And in-room teachers are not paid an “obscene” salary typically.

    But even cherry picking some of the administration salaries, it would only be a small dent in the budget issues.

    2) My question is–over the past 20-30 years, has there been a significant ratio change in the raw NUMBER of school employees who aren’t actually in the classrooms? If it’s gone up significantly, has this yielded positive educational results in any measurable way (such as graduation rates, literacy levels, standardized test results)? Or is it this a case of mistakenly goosing the inputs and assuming it will necessarily yield better outputs?

    3) To that point, it’s entirely possible the individual compensation packages aren’t obscene, but that the overhead generally has just gone way up due to compliance, legal, regulatory & other non-academic issues.

    And no, every classroom does not need to be high speed internet ready with wi-fi. Is basic computer literacy needed? Yes. I’d argue in favor of even phasing out teaching cursive and instead doing some basic computer classes in a computer lab several hours per week. But unless you can literally point to realistic & significant cost savings, macking out every classroom with technology really doesn’t matter that much. It’d be like slapping state of the art athletic gear on a kid who is mordibly obese because it would marginally improve his athletic performance.

    All a kid really needs to gain some knowledge is a room, a blackboard, some books, and a reasonably good teacher at the front of the room. And most importantly–some reasonably behaved students (hopefully supported at home). Again, if it can be proven without a doubt that the tech significantly cuts the budget, then great. But if the financial improvements are marginal or worse, pure fantasy, then I thinkn it’d be a bad idea. The marginal improvement for a kid that has a basic computer lab (which is needed) versus having a high tech wi-fi enviornment is not going to be worth the cost.


  15. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 1:12 pm:

    Budget politics often dictate that you have to ask for more - just to try to keep what you already have.

    On the other hand I think the Illinois State Board of Education is right in asking for more. As I pointed out yesterday:

    Illinois state government pays less than 25% of the cost of K-12 public school education in Illinois - the lowest percentage among the 50 state governments. The mean of the state governments’share is around 46%.


  16. - AnonymousOne - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 1:12 pm:

    The party line is that everyone values education. Apparently no one wants to pay for it but they reserve the right to whine about it. Our state is an Educational embarrassment in the way we fund what is supposedly so important.


  17. - wordslinger - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    All these tests are scams. The hedgies who profit off taxpayer funded charter schools are big-time investors in the test companies.


  18. - Ghost - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 2:01 pm:

    We will never get the minimium wage down if we dont start defunding education and build more sweatshops.


  19. - Listening In - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 2:03 pm:

    The technology request is intended to support administering the PARCC assessments. PARCC is an online assessment that will replace ISAT and PSAE in the 2014-2015 school year. Most IL districts however, are woefully unprepared (both with infrastructure and devices) to accomplish this. These are the tech requirements to administer PARCC: http://www.parcconline.org/technology

    In the meantime, ISBE has stated that paper and pencil tests will be available at approximately an additional cost of $2-3 per test, per student, with two administrations per year.


  20. - Nearly Normal - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 2:07 pm:

    The PARCC test referred to by the press release is supposed to supplement the ISAT tests. It is designed to be administered via computers or other devices. This also requires a robust connection to handle the large volume of users at one time.

    There was an ISBE press release in November that said funds are needed to get all schools online with robust connections and many need to purchase devices for student use for testing.

    Right now, only about 25% of school districts have the capability to take the PARCC online. This means that the rest will need to take it via pencil and paper when this goes into effect next school year.

    Taking the PARCC test online is supposed to cut down on the time it takes to get the test results. If the test is taken offline with paper and pencil, the results may not be available for some time.

    ISBE has a test schedule for 2014-1015 already posted on their website. Most of these tests will be taken in March so those schools without online testing may not get their results until the end of the school year resulting in little time to do interventions to help students who are failing.

    Pearson is the company that is preparing the testing materials and charging millions$ for their services. PARCC is a consortium of states and Illinois is but one of several in the group.


  21. - RNUG - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 2:13 pm:

    CapnCrunch - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 12:33 pm:

    That lack of parental involvement was one of Mrs. RNUG’s complaints when she used to work for the school district. You couldn’t even get them there when you bribed them by giving away free stuff.


  22. - DuPage - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 2:18 pm:

    Does the state count the money they pay into TRS as part of the amount that goes to education. Why or why not?


  23. - RNUG - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 2:24 pm:

    I’ve been on record as supporting whatever is needed to improve high school graduation rates. I’m not sure tests or technology is going to do that. Smaller class sizes, parental involvement and a way to effectively deal with the disruptive students can do that. The disruptive students are a big issue. Even when you segregate the problem kids into seperate classes / schools, they still need to be taught instead of warehoused until they leave. They CAN be reached; Mrs. RNUG at one time worked in such classes and she actually worked with the students instead of babysitting them. Once those kids realized she wasn’t afraid of them and was serious about trying to teach them, the results were surprising.

    If we’re ever going to turn this state around, we have to fix the educational system first and if we have to rob the money from the colleges, so be it. A lot of the students showing up at college end up in remedial classes anyway because they didn’t get the basics in high school, so we’re already wasting college money that we shouldn’t have to.


  24. - Archimedes - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 2:29 pm:

    The ISBE request is not an unreasonable request that could be met if the State had a reasonable structure for revenues and expenses. It does not.

    And so we will be faced every year with sacrificing the future of this state (not just education, but infrastructure, societal needs, and welfare of people) to the higher need of political power and preservation of that power in every election cycle.


  25. - titan - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 2:37 pm:

    We could come up with the money easy … just take another pension holiday or two.

    What? Why not?


  26. - RNUG - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 2:44 pm:

    /s on

    Guess we need a new law mandating specific levels of parental involvement …


  27. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 3:17 pm:

    “$25 million for early childhood education programs designed to boost the number of students served in preschool programs by more than 5,500.”

    This is the best idea for improving Illinois. Increased spending in quality early childhood education for disadvantaged children is an investment of tax dollars that increases high school graduation rates and reduces crime.

    http://heckmanequation.org/content/resource/case-investing-disadvantaged-young-children


  28. - Tom Joad - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 3:47 pm:

    The State Board has always requested more money than the legislature will agree to. The Board’s requests have been unrealistic, and have made their input easy to ignore.


  29. - Lycurgus - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 3:59 pm:

    Anonymous,

    There are 356,426 3 and 4-year old children in Illinois. That’s $1.625 billion to extend that early childhood education opportunity to all.


  30. - Demoralized - Friday, Jan 24, 14 @ 4:24 pm:

    ==The State Board has always requested more money than the legislature will agree to. The Board’s requests have been unrealistic, and have made their input easy to ignore.==

    It’s their job to say what they think education needs. It’s the job of the Governor and the General Assembly to make the decision on funding. It’s a budget request. When you come up with a budget you ask for what you need. That’s how it works. They don’t have to give it to you.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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