When Gov. Bruce Rauner pledged to increase school funding by $300 million, educators seemed unimpressed.
They’re more excited about House Speaker Michael Madigan’s proposed 3 percent surcharge on income greater than a million dollars. That would provide about a billion dollars to schools.
That move would require a constitutional amendment, but it has gotten backing from a variety of education groups that are often at odds with one another -- teachers unions, school administrators, and everyone in between.
The state has cut funding to schools for the past three years; the Speaker’s measure would channel an estimated $1 billion to public schools.
Cinda Klickna, president of the Illinois Education Association, calls this amendment a good first step. But she says it’s still not enough.
“Our children are being cheated out of their right -- the opportunity to receive a high-quality education,” she says.
Dan Montgomery, of the Illinois Federation of Teachers, says it's clear the state has to contribute more to schools
“Our conscience tells us we have to do more, in terms of state dollars for education, and the people of Illinois have told us this,” he said. “In November, over 65 percent of those voting on this question, when it was advisory, supported this surcharge going for education."
Funding schools at the level recommended by a state advisory board would require an additional $4 billion.
The amendment would require voter approval at the 2016 general election.