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IFT members keep the momentum going in the fight for education funding

For the second time this year, IFT members joined with their communities to shine a spotlight on the needs and challenges facing public education at all levels during “walk-ins” around the state.
In powerful, positive examples of collective action, IFT locals and councils organized walk-in events on May 4 as part of an ongoing campaign for the “Schools All Our Children Deserve.” The events were coordinated through the Alliance to Reclaim our Schools, a national coalition of organizations, including the AFT, that have banded together for educational justice and equity.

In February, the first series of walk-in events was held at 833 public schools in 30 U.S. cities. This time, participation swelled to include tens of thousands of people in 75 cities and more than 20 states.

Here in Illinois, IFT locals and councils engaged parents and communities at events in school districts around the state. Participating locals and councils included: the Chicago Teachers Union (Local 1), the Farmington Federation of Integrated Support Staff and Teachers (Local 3764), the McHenry County Federation of Teachers (Local 1642), the New Lenox Council of Teachers and Specialists (AFT Local 604), the Venice Federation of Teachers (Local 965), and the West Northfield Teachers' Association of Local 1274. The Harlem Federation of Teachers (Local 540) also participated by issuing a joint union/district media statement on May 4 demanding adequate and equitable funding for the district's schools.

604 New Lenox Liberty Jr High Walk In 14 group
604 New Lenox Liberty Jr High Walk In 9 dan

IFT President Dan Montgomery joined with members in the New Lenox Council of Teachers and Specialists (AFT Local 604) at one of 12 events they held in schools district-wide on Wednesday. Speakers called for adequate funding and said, "...we want our future, past, and present students to know you matter to NLSD."


The McHenry County College council of the McHenry County Federation of Teachers wore their school colors and called for desperately needed higher education funding on the May 4th day of action.


Members of the Farmington Federation of Integrated Support Staff and Teachers walked in with students in the morning, then gathered inside with community leaders and parents to talk about the critical need for state funding to keep their K-12 campus doors open this fall.

6600 Breakfast In Venice elementary 3

Educators and support staff in the Venice Federation of Teachers didn't let the rain stop them from standing up for kids and education funding. Instead of a "walk-in," members held a "breakfast-in" with parents and students.

The members of the West Northfield Teachers' Association, a council of Local 1274, walked-in with their students to demonstrate their support for the schools all kids deserve.

Each event was customized to draw attention to specific concerns in that school district, but they highlighted one common need - for Governor Rauner to drop his irresponsible political priorities and enact a state budget that adequately funds public schools, higher education, and critical services.

As the state enters the eleventh month without a budget, the Governor continues to insist upon anti-union reforms that would harm everyday Illinoisans before he will agree to a budget. Lawmakers passed an emergency stopgap measure last week to keep Illinois’ higher education institutions open through the summer, but the temporary measure amounts to an unprecedented and devastating 70 percent cut to our universities if no additional funds are provided for FY 2016.

With no budget in place for FY 2017, many PreK-12 schools are concerned about whether they will be able to open in the fall. And earlier this week, a coalition of human and social service agencies filed suit against the Governor for failing to pay for $100 million dollars for critical services that have been provided during his budget impasse.




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