The Illinois Legislature has (finally!) passed a budget for the 2024 fiscal year, the Senate late on Thursday, and the House very early this morning.
Thankfully, there was NO language to extend the Invest in Kids voucher program or remove its sunset clause in any budget bills.Read more
Gov. Pritzker gave his budget address on Wednesday, and it was heartening to hear him call out attacks on school boards and libraries, including book bans and 'Don't Say Gay' laws, and say unequivocally that here in Illinois we want our children to learn the truth about our history as a country, “warts and all.”Read more
The IL State Board of Ed held a series of budget hearings this month to get feedback from the public on requests for the state's FY2024 budget for public education. IL Families for Public Schools' Samay Gheewala spoke at the Oct 4th hearing, along with representatives of several other members of the PEER (Partnership for Equity and Education Rights) Illinois funding coalition. Read his remarks after the jump.Read more
News - School’s out but it’s time to start thinking about school board races; IAR changes still needed; and more
Aside from the city of Chicago, school board elections throughout Illinois take place next spring on April 4, 2023, and candidates can begin collecting signatures to get on the ballot this fall. (The 2023 candidate guide is not yet out from the State Board of Elections, but the 2021 guide has basic info about running.)
If you’re considering running for your local school board or want to support candidates, there’s a great online training next week Wed June 22 at 6pm for current and prospective board members.Read more
- One-pager on the basics of the Fair Tax amendment from the Vote Yes for Fair Tax coalition
- One-pager on Racial Equity and the Fair Tax amendment from the Vote Yes for Fair Tax coalition
- A good longer read giving some of the history of why IL doesn't have a Fair Tax from a former reporter and public ed supporter who's been an education policy expert and commentator in Springfield for many decades, Jim Broadway. We highly recommend subscribing to his news service.
- Eric Zorn had a good debunking of many of the common arguments against the Fair Tax in his column this spring
- Op-ed from Cook Co Assessor Fritz Kaegi "How a graduated-rate income tax can increase school funding"
- Column on the Fair Tax benefits for the working class from Ralph Matire, head of the non-partisan Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.
- Calculator to see what you'd pay under new rates. 97% of taxpayers will pay the same or less under the graduated rates.
- Basic stats on local and state tax burden in IL. We have the 8th most regressive taxation system in the US---mostly because we do not have a graduated rate income tax.
- And here's our slide show we've been using for info sessions on the Fair Tax.
The General Assembly is back in session tomorrow in Springfield. This is likely to be a whirlwind three-day session covering a very barebones legislative agenda compared to a normal spring. (Politico shared this list of bills/topics on Tuesday.)
And, unfortunately, other than the state budget for Fiscal Year 2021, it's likely that not that much directly relevant for K-12 schools will be tackled.
Forty-three states, including Illinois, have closed K-12 schools for the remainder of the year. Mass closures and a sudden switch to crisis schooling from a distance have prompted reflections on the crucial role of schools for children and communities. It’s also prompted speculation about what changes might take place longer term as a result of the closings and the pandemic.
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