CHICAGO, Feb. 19, 2020—The Chicago Teachers Union issued the following statement today in response to Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s state budget address:
For too long, Illinois’ government has been insufficiently funded to create the schools, universities, parks, cities and communities that residents want and need. Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s budget address clearly laid out the need for additional revenue for state government. To that end, the CTU stands in full support of the Fair Tax constitutional amendment on November’s general election ballot. The Union also supports additional efforts to raise revenue for schools and state services, including the early sunset of downtown tax increment financing (TIF) districts, a reversal of the sham TIFs created for Lincoln Yards and The 78, and a graduated real estate transfer tax to fund sorely needed homeless services in Chicago.
The need for revenue is clear: There is no way to remedy the most profound and gross inequity in school funding in Illinois without additional revenue from the state. Chicago Public Schools only receives about two-thirds of the funding it needs, and for every year the district receives only a small increase in state support, it falls further behind districts that are 100 percent funded.
This means that the students who need the most receive significantly less than students who already have more resources and opportunities.
To remedy the problem, we believe that Illinois should increase funding to the state’s school funding formula as soon as possible, and that Chicago should sunset downtown TIF districts early to put more than $200 million into social workers, school nurses, lower class sizes, supports for bilingual students and students with special needs. Wealthy developers shouldn’t be able to jump the line in order to rake in money supposedly earmarked for Illinois’ schoolchildren. Without that urgency, the State of Illinois and City of Chicago consign CPS students to structural inequity for their entire K-12 experience.
The Chicago Teachers Union will work hard to help pass the Fair Tax amendment, and we look forward to working with Gov. Pritzker and the General Assembly to continue increasing funding to CPS and moving toward real stability and predictability for parents, students and school communities.