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Illinois Federation of Teachers Reacts to Governor's Proposed Budget

WESTMONTIllinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery issued this statement today following Governor Pritzker’s annual budget address.

“With the budget proposal he detailed today, Governor Pritzker is again demonstrating that he places the education of our children and the needs of Illinois families above all else. The governor's plan will keep Illinois on the path to full funding for public education and fiscal health for our state.

“We appreciate the governor's commitment to our state's PreK-12 public schools and efforts to fund the Evidence-Based Model (EBM) established in 2017. However, without increases beyond the annual $350 million, our schools won’t be fully funded until 2042. We urge the governor and lawmakers to make an increase beyond the required minimum, so another generation of students is not forced to attend underfunded schools.

“With the tightening budget, we also urge the governor and lawmakers to soundly reject any calls to renew a voucher program that would use tax dollars to fund private schools.

"We are glad to see the governor is continuing to put a high priority on early childhood education funding and the Smart Start Illinois Plan, which seeks to provide universal preschool access to every three and four-year old by 2027. Illinois still has a long way to go to achieve education equity, but the Smart Start plan can play a critical role in reaching that important goal.

“We agree with the governor that our state must make higher education more accessible and affordable. To do so, it is essential that we make up for decades of severe higher education underfunding that have resulted in program and staffing cuts, low enrollment, and high tuition at many state colleges and universities. We believe a higher education funding formula, much like the K-12 Evidence-Based Model, should be given serious consideration. While we appreciate the governor's proposed $30 million increase for higher education funding during tight fiscal times, we call on him and lawmakers to do more.

"Though he did not mention it today, we also urge Governor Pritzker and lawmakers to fix the unfair, inadequate Tier 2 public pension system. Only by ensuring that everyone who dedicates their life to public service can retire with dignity and financial security will Illinois address our dire teacher and worker shortage. We know that the governor is committed to funding public pensions and keeping the state’s economy on a sound, steady path. Improving Tier 2 is also an issue of economic fairness for many educators, staff, and public employees.

“This legislative session, our union of 103,000 members looks forward to working with Governor Pritzker and lawmakers to advocate for the needs of Illinois' students and the communities in which we live and serve."


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