Wednesday, August 8, 2007

A+ Illinois opposes proposed state budget

A+ Illinois Opposes Proposed State Budget

Inadequate budget does not address core problems facing Illinois schoolsA+ Illinois, the state’s leading campaign to reform school funding and quality, announced its opposition to the General Assembly’s proposed operating budget. The budget provides approximately $575 million for education, and does not include any new revenue sources.

The proposal will not fully fund the current foundation level—the minimum funding amount recommended by the state’s Education Funding Advisory Board—or address schools’ other urgent funding needs. “This budget does not address the core problems plaguing Illinois’ education system,” said A+ Illinois Campaign Manager Mary Ellen Guest.

“The gap in funding and student achievement between wealthy and poor communities will continue to grow, local property owners will continue to pay the bulk of school funding costs, and Illinois will continue to rank near-last in the nation in our support for schools.”

Since its inception in 2004, A+ Illinois has urged state leaders to improve school funding, quality and accountability; restore Illinois’ fiscal health by addressing under funded liabilities; and end Illinois’ over reliance on local property taxes to fund schools. The coalition supports a modest income tax increase with protections for low-income families. Recent polls show that Illinois voters are willing to pay more in taxes in order to invest in proven education strategies. In addition, organizations as diverse as the Metropolitan Mayors’ Caucus and the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board have all urged the General Assembly to solve Illinois’ mounting school funding crisis.

“The debate over whether Illinois needs comprehensive school funding reform is over, and the time is now for action,” added Guest. “State leaders have squandered the opportunity to provide every child with a quality education.”

A+ Illinois is urging supporters to immediately contact their state lawmakers and urge them to vote against this budget using the campaign’s toll-free legislative hotline, 1-800-651-0315. A+ Illinois is a coalition of hundreds of organizations and thousands of individuals across the state working to improve the funding and quality of Illinois schools, including Voices for Illinois Children, Metropolitan Planning Council, Illinois Farm Bureau, Chicago Urban League, Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, Illinois Education Association, and Illinois Federation of Teachers.

For more information, please visit

Contact: Mary Ellen Guest, A+ Illinois Campaign Manager, 312-513-6022 (cell)Clare Fauke, A+ Illinois Communications Coordinator, 312-802-2302 (cell)

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