Funding facts from Ralph Martire


Ralph Martire presents school funding facts

Ralph Martire presents school funding facts

PURE was pleased to co-sponsor a forum on October 11, 2013, featuring state budget expert Ralph Martire, of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability. The information he provided was important to share, so we have prepared the following fact sheet based on his presentation and are solely responsible for its content. For more information about the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability and these critical issues, please go to You can also download a printable version of the fact sheet here.

Facts about school funding from Ralph Martire

A summary of Ralph Martire’s presentation on state school funding for Illinois Friends of Public Education, October 11, 2013

  1. There has been a 10% drop in Illinois Pre-K-12 funding from 2000 -> 2014.
  1. Illinois ranks 50 out of 50 states in the portion of education funding provided by the state.
  1. Illinois’ temporary tax increase did help. This planned four-year tax hike – from 3% to 5% — enacted by Illinois in 2011 stabilized the deficit at about 8 billion. Without the tax increase, the deficit would now be about 33 billion.
  1. The tax increase was not a “job killer.” In fact, more jobs are lost when the state spends less money by cutting jobs. When jobs are lost, spending (and state revenue) drops. Our state was hurt more in the last recession because we lost more jobs.
  1. The only way to fix the state’s deficit is to fix our tax policy. We need a progressive, graduated tax system that is focused on services, not income. This will require a change in the state constitution. It will also cut taxes for 90% of Illinoisans without hurting the state economy.

More about Illinois and school funding

  • Even with the temporary tax increase, Illinois has one of the lowest tax burdens in the nation – 42nd place with an average tax burden of 14.2% of income. We also had the second lowest real Gross State Product (GSP) growth in the Midwest.
  • Illinois is a big, rich state. In 2011, we ranked FIFTH nationally with a GSP of $672 billion. That makes us the 19th largest economy of any nation in the world – larger than Saudi Arabia, Sweden, Portugal, etc.
  • Illinois’ economy is lagging that of other states, in part due to the state’s failure to fund education adequately. Unemployment rates are highest for those with the least education.
  • The state’s Educational Funding Advisory Board (EFAB) studied the cost of an adequate education and came up with a per-pupil amount of $4,560. The standard of measurement was the cost of getting two-thirds of the non-st-risk students in the state to pass the state standardized test. Despite the fact that this standard ignores any extra costs of educating at-risk students, the state has never met even that low funding bar. Adjusted for inflation, the state currently provides nearly $3,000 per child LESS than the EFAB recommended amount of funding, leaving Illinois schools short a total of $5 billion.
  • It is estimated that at-risk students require at least twice the amount of school funding to succeed, a figure which Illinois falls far short of providing.


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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.