Advocates march at the Stand for Children rally in Washington, DC on June 1, 1996.

In our office are photos taken over the last couple of years of Stand members holding rally signs with messages like “Our Students Our Future” and “Illinois Kids Need Fair Funding.”

Nearby are pictures taken 22 years ago today of Stand for Children Day, the largest rally in support of children’s rights in the history of the United States and the event that started this organization.

The juxtaposition of these images reminds me that great things can happen when everyday people stand together.

Thanks to advocates like you who stepped up over the years and let Springfield know how important fair funding is for our schools, Illinois just took another important step in the direction of equity.

Yesterday, the General Assembly approved a budget package for the upcoming fiscal year that includes another $350 million for the school funding formula enacted last year. By adding more funds to the formula, the school districts that are the most under-funded receive new money first and no district loses money. That’s good news for students in every corner of the state.

What could Illinois do with that new $350 million in school funding? That decision is up to the school districts, but the possibilities are exciting to think about. $350 million could hire about 4,000 more teachers; that’s at least one for every school. It could go a long way in providing high school students with more guidance counselors – Illinois has the second-worst guidance counselor-to-student ratio in the country, and this needs to be addressed.

Illinois still has work to do to get every district to funding adequacy, but these new resources are an important boost to districts across Illinois.

We at Stand will remain focused on amplifying the voices of students, parents, and families who are fighting for equal and high quality public education, just as we have for 22 years.

Please help us celebrate 22 years of impact and consider a gift to ensure we can continue for at least another 22.

Give $22 today in honor of Stand’s 22nd Anniversary!

I’m proud to be standing with you as we continue that journey.

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