Posts Tagged ‘school funding’

Funding facts from Ralph Martire

Monday, October 28th, 2013


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.


PSAT for 10-1-13: Support MLK HS petition for return of funding

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

psat_logoFrom Mr. Lance Williams, chair of the Martin Luther King College Prep High School Local School Council, via PURE Board member Cathy Dale:

Hello Everyone,!

We’ve started the petition “Chicago Board of Education and Mayor Rahm Emanuel: The King College Prep Local School and school community request a meeting with Dr. Bennett. We appeal to Mayor Emanuel and the Board of Education to restore $500.000 to our budget.” and need your help to get it off the ground.

Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now? Here’s the link.

Here’s why it’s important:

Martin Luther King College Prep distinguishes itself from other College Preps in the City by offering its Scholars an opportunity to focus on one of the 3 college stands track, Performing Arts, Architecture/Engineering and Information Technology. In 2002, the Board of Education turned King into a College Prep with a focus on the College Strands.  Our Scholars receive certificates as well as college credit, from participating colleges after completing courses in a particular strand. This gives our Scholars and advantage when deciding and applying to colleges. Most of our families receive free or reduced lunch, therefore we don’t have the resources that many of the other college preps have to replace the money that the Board of Education has cut from school budgets.

Dr. Martin Luther King College Prep Local School Council
Mr. Lance Williams-Chair
You can sign my petition by clicking here.

PSAT for 9-17-13: Join Illinois Friends of Public Education!

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013


Upload the flyer here.


Better School Funding NOW! Sign up now for Ralph Martire forum

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

Student at Chalkboard 4Sign up now for a lunchtime forum with Ralph Martire, director of the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability (CBTA).

  • When: Friday, October 11, 2013, noon to 1 pm
  • Where: 70 E Lake Street, Chicago (conference room)

Space is limited, so please sign up soon to find out what’s really going on in state school funding and what we can do about it.

Here’s what CBTA’s web site says about that:

Since the 1970’s, Illinois has struggled to solve its inequitable and inadequate school funding system: (i) three blue ribbon commissions have been formed; (ii) two state Supreme Court cases have been litigated; and (iii) numerous proposals to put band-aids on the existing system have been offered.  Unfortunately for the two million public school children in Illinois, all attempts have failed. 

Past attempts failed primarily for one reason – they did not recognize that the fundamental cause of the state’s inequitable, inadequate school funding system is the state’s antiquated fiscal system.  Until Illinois comprehensively fixes the way it raises the revenue that funds public services, education funding reform will continue to fail. 

CBTA recently released a critical analysis of the Chicago Public Schools’ 2014 budget, which opens with this statement:

In FY2013, Chicago Public Schools (CPS or “District”) embarked on its extended school day program. To support that program’s implementation, CPS funded an additional 1,075 teaching positions for the 2012-13 school year. At that time, many community organizations and parents questioned whether CPS could afford the true cost associated with the extended school day initiative. One year later, it appears those concerns were warranted.
This forum is the second meeting of Illinois Friends of Public Education, a new statewide group originally convened by Parent Across America with a lunch meeting last July featuring the wonderful Jim Broadway, publisher of State School News Service.


CPS budget hearings this Thursday and Friday

Monday, July 29th, 2013

speakoutFor years, a very small handful of us stalwarts went to these hearings to voice complaints about CPS’s misplaced budget priorities. I imagine there will be more people at these upcoming sessions. In the past, there was little or no media coverage but again that will probably not be the case this time. It’s still a good idea to target one of the Thursday hearings where there is more chance there will be media.

In all cases, registration to speak starts at 5 pm and the hearing runs from 6-8 pm.

  • Thursday, August 1: Truman College, Novar Hall/Room 3426, 1145 West Wilson
  • Thursday, August 1: Kennedy King College Theater, 740 West 63rd Street
  • Friday, August 2: Malcolm X College, Bruce K. Hayden, 1900 West Van Buren

Watch out! Tribune, Joyce Foundation team up to push school privatization

Sunday, March 24th, 2013

Newspaper Salesman 1flipThe Chicago Tribune published some pre-digested results of a new public education survey they carried out with support from the Joyce Foundation.

Shockingly, the poll results, according to the Tribune, suggest that most people approve of the Tribune’s positions on teacher accountability and school privatization.

Here’s what my look at the actual poll found:

Who responded:

  • 50% of those polled were white. Less than 9% of CPS students are white.
  • 30% of those polled make more than $ 75,000 a year. 87% of CPS students are from low-income families that qualify for federal free or reduced lunches.
  • 43% of those polled do not know a Chicago Public School teacher or teachers’ union member. Really?

Of course, the Trib claims that results were “weighted” to assure a mix consistent with city demographics…but then, like Mayor Rahm, most of the white people in Chicago send their children to private schools.

Key results the Trib decided not to tell you about: 

  • The most popular answer to their question about what to do about underperforming schools was “devote more resources while keeping the staff intact” (37%). The least selected answers were “close the school and transfer students to a higher-performing school” (only 6%) and “allow an experienced nonprofit to come in and run the school” (18.8%) (question 24).
  • Nearly as many people think the CPS budget should be balanced by raising taxes on businesses as by closing schools. Oops! (question 31).

One more thing the Trib left out: the Joyce Foundation also funded the notorious report, “What’s Trust Got to do with it?” which was re-titled “Giving Parents the Run-around on School Turnarounds” by the university-based National Education Policy Center in a review. The press release announcing that review said:

(T)he report never treats seriously the substantive concerns of resistant parents; it never questions the fundamental strategy that it proposes communicating about….The result is a document that’s “paternalistic and arrogant” in its “criticism of parents for not knowing what’s good for them.”

So, parents, look out when the Tribune and the Joyce Foundation team up to talk about education.

Schooled by experts

Monday, November 19th, 2012

This morning I attended an excellent symposium on a variety of education issues presented by CReATE (Chicagoland Researchers and Advocates for Transformative Education), the nearly two-year-old group of 100 Chicago-area academic experts who have already created some excellent resources to help parents, community groups, students and others to better understand the truth about corporate school reform.

CReATE’s first effort was a paper called  “Chicago School Reform: Myths, Realities, and New Visions”, which clarified some of the education issues discussed during the 2011 mayoral election.

Despite the outcome of that election — or maybe because of it — CReATE continued its work with a position paper opposing tying Chicago teacher evaluation to student test scores. I spoke at CReATE’s press conference announcing the letter the professors sent to Mayor Emanuel on the subject.

Today, CReATE gave a small but avid audience of educators, parents and community organizers an overview of several new research-based fact sheets on topics such as charter schools, school funding, TIFs, mayoral control v democratic governance of schools, etc. We then brainstormed ideas for collective action to challenge some of these damaging policies and promote a quality education for every child. You can find some of these papers here.

Thanks to these volunteer educators, Chicago takes another big step ahead at the cutting edge of real school reform. All in all, it was a good day for public education.


Support PURE!
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.