Up with funding, down with vouchers

Action Alert, News, and Research!


Take a stand with us this Thursday and tell the General Assembly to override the Governor's veto of SB1 and keep vouchers out of IL

Yesterday CPS announced the layoff of 900 staff, including 365 teachers, and delayed the release of their budget and budget hearings, which were supposed to be next week.

Sun-TimesCPS lays off 950, including 356 teachers; delays releasing its budget
WTTW: CPS Delays Budget Vote, Announces Hundreds of Staffing Cuts

These cuts were made with the assumption that the state would pass SB1, the new funding formula that would yield an additional $300 million for CPS. This highlights the absurdity of Governor Rauner’s claim that the bill is a CPS “bailout”. Instead, it’s clear that, even with those additional dollars from the state, CPS continues to push cuts to staff—this after multiple years of cuts and borrowing on the part of CPS to make ends meet.

RYH strongly opposes additional cuts to the classroom and believes that new dollars from both the state and city are needed to prevent putting Chicago children in further jeopardy. As our political leaders continue to engage in finger-pointing and blame-shifting, the neediest students in Chicago and the state of Illinois stand to pay the price. Kelly High School on the Southwest side, serving 96% low income students, stands to lose 12 teachers and 10 additional support staff. Funston Elementary, serving 98% low income students, would lose 6 teaching positions. Just two examples of how Chicago students’ futures are impacted when our elected officials refuse to get the job done and pass revenue to protect them.

Governor Rauner would also like to remove the hold-harmless provision in his school funding proposal, which coupled with the back-room voucher deal that he’s trying to inject, will mean the slow decline of public school budgets around the state. SB1’s hold-harmless provision keeps districts from losing funds while below their adequacy target. Rauner’s version aims to cut districts that lose enrollment even when the costs to those schools remain the same and while they are below target for funding adequacy. We’re seeing first hand what that kind of policy does for kids in Chicago.  Funston is losing roughly 47 students according to CPS’ projected enrollment but 6 teachers. In classrooms with upwards of 30 children, how can that be equitable?

WBEZ: School Vouchers For Broad Swath of Families On The Table in School Funding Fight

Instead of political infighting we need political courage. We implore the state legislature to override Rauner’s amendatory veto and keep vouchers out of the school funding formula negotiations. Take a moment to send a letter to your legislator to tell them to keep vouchers out of IL and override SB1 via our Action Network letter-writing tool.

You can read and share our new fact sheet on the type of voucher program being proposed for IL here: Tax credit scholarships: What you need to know.

Join us for an action at the Thompson Center this Thursday at 11am to tell our legislators to override SB1 and keep vouchers out of IL. The future of public education in the state of IL is at stake.