There are times in this work where I feel like we’ve accomplished a huge goal. And then there are times like last night.
As the minutes ticked down on the spring legislative session in Springfield, state legislators failed to pass an education budget for the upcoming fiscal year. The move leaves schools across the state waiting for a state education budget before the upcoming school year. It also leaves Illinois with one of the most inequitable school funding systems in the country.
Over the last few days, there have been quite a few funding proposals in the legislature. You can read more about them on our blog. Late in the day yesterday, the House and Senate each voted down the school budget bill that the other chamber had passed.
The significance of midnight May 31 is that, beginning today, bills need a 3/5 majority vote in order to pass. The House has announced that it will be in “continuous session” and they will be back every Wednesday in June.
But that still does not solve the problem we all know about and deal with every day. Our schools desperately need a better funding system, and they need it now. It is unfair to the students in every corner of Illinois who are being denied the high-quality education they deserve simply because of where they live.
We will keep fighting each and every day for fair school funding that high-poverty districts so desperately need. I hope I can count on you once again to join us in this fight.
I am heartened that we are not alone in this struggle. Many partner organizations stand united in this fight, as do countless education advocates across our state: education advocates sent thousands of emails to leaders in Springfield, almost all urging a fix to our school funding system. That unified voice will be crucial as we look to the work still ahead.