Superintendents and Education Advocates Urge House Task Force to Fix State’s Broken and Inequitable Education Funding System

Superintendents and Education Advocates Urge House Task Force  to Fix State’s Broken and Inequitable Education Funding System

Chicago, Illinois – Advocates who support fixing Illinois’ broken education funding system today urged a House task force on public education funding to take action on the state’s inequitable and unfair system, which has penalized students from cash-strapped districts for decades, hurting those who need help the most.

School superintendents from throughout Illinois traveled to Chicago and spoke before the start of today’s hearing in support of passing statewide education funding reform in Springfield this legislative session. These superintendents are all members of the Funding Illinois’ Future (FIF) coalition and included: David Lett, Superintendent from Pana School District 8; Tony Sanders, CEO of School District U-46; Michael Popp, Superintendent from Aurora East School District 131; Kristin Humphries, Superintendent of East Moline School District 37; Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, Superintendent of Peoria School District 150; Donaldo Batiste, Superintendent of Waukegan CUSD 60; Jeff Craig, Superintendent of West Aurora School District 129; and Rich Well, Superintendent of Vandalia School District 203.

Before the House Education Task Force meeting, the superintendents met with Forrest Claypool, CEO of Chicago Public Schools. They discussed the challenges facing their districts due to the state’s inequitable funding formula, which is forcing many districts to the financial brink and preventing them from providing their students with all the tools they need to be successful. “We are united in our support of a statewide education funding solution to address the disparities that plague districts across the state,” said David Lett, Superintendent of Pana School District 8. “Too much is at stake for Illinois students, whether they call Chicago, Aurora, or East Moline their home. If Chicago and other districts are standing shoulder to shoulder in this effort, anything is possible.”

The current education funding system is a web of complicated formulas that result in less than half of all state education dollars going to school districts based on a local district’s ability to pay for local schools. More than half of state education dollars go to districts regardless of their wealth, shortchanging poor districts with students who have greater needs.

Illinois has the most unfair school funding system of any state in the entire nation. Research shows that students living in poverty need additional resources in order to succeed. But, instead of giving them those resources, the state shortchanges students with the most need. This has created a system where wealthy districts in Illinois can spend as much as $30,000 per student, while the poorest barely spends $6,000. These inequities are holding generations of children back from realizing their full potential.

“We can do better than a funding system that comes up short for low income students and students of color because so many live in cash-strapped districts with little local resources to make up for the lack of state funding,” said Sharon Desmoulin-Kherat, Superintendent of Peoria School District 150. “The time is now for action.”

Funding Illinois’ Future is a broad coalition of over 230 members including school superintendents, faith leaders, parents, teachers, education reform groups, and others. To learn more about FIF, visit

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