WESTMONT – Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery issued this statement today following Governor Pritzker’s annual budget address.
“Today, Governor Pritzker has proven once again that he places the needs of Illinois’ students and working families above all else.
“IFT applauds Governor Pritzker for his steadfast commitment to our PreK-12 public schools and his continued work toward fully funding the Evidence-Based Model (EBM). He made significant strides towards this goal in his first term, and prioritizing the $350 million increase for EBM in FY24 puts us another step closer to ensuring that every child in Illinois – no matter their skin color or zip code – has access to an equal, high-quality education.
“The governor has also proposed the largest increase in higher education funding in over two decades. The planned $100 million increase would help public colleges and universities stabilize operations and address enrollment issues that have resulted from the pandemic. College affordability continues to be an issue for too many students, so the IFT is happy to see the governor again put forward a substantial increase for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) to help lower-income students.
“The teacher and school staff shortage is having a dramatic impact on states across the nation and Illinois is no exception. IFT echoes the governor’s concerns about this shortage from PreK to higher education and is committed to working with him to help pass and implement his proposed three-year, $70 million pilot program to help districts with the most severe shortages attract and retain teachers. We know that long term solutions to this problem must also improve teacher compensation, retirement benefits, and support for educators of color.
“We appreciate the governor’s continued commitment to pay the state’s pension obligations and ensure that our educators and state workers can retire with security after a lifetime of public service. It is an important aspect of the governor’s continuing sound fiscal management, which has improved Illinois’ economic climate and credit rating.
“IFT looks forward to continuing our work with the governor and lawmakers this session to achieve our common goals on behalf of the students, citizens, and Illinois communities we proudly serve.”