Governor Pritzker’s Budget Address shows what our members already know: when it comes to the budget, our students need more. Chicago Public Schools still need full funding per Illinois’ school funding formula.

Illinois has a best-in-the-nation school funding formula. The formula identifies what makes schools work best – lower class sizes, librarians, social workers, counselors, and teachers’ assistants, for instance. What Illinois doesn’t have is enough money invested into schools based on this formula. In Illinois, 70% of children go to a school that’s underfunded, including every child in Chicago Public Schools. The Illinois Board of Education reports that we need $820 million in new money in each of the next three years to get the State funding formula to 90% funded.

Because of this, not to mention the decades of privatization and structural racism that preceded the formula’s creation, Chicago Public Schools have never been funded the way they should be.

Instead, Chicago schools have been starved of resources through the no-neighborhood school-choice school choice model, innumerable closures, and a race to the bottom based on underfunding that exacerbates declining enrollment. Neighborhood schools like Nicholson in Chicago’s Englewood community have 1 out of 3 houseless students, while are also tasked with providing a safe haven for newcomers and increasing numbers of ELL students: these schools, and the students they serve, deserve more.

Every student in Chicago Public Schools needs a baseline of supports and resources. There is still a tremendous gap between the educational resources available to Illinois’ wealthiest communities and poorest, putting Black, Latine and working-class communities at a structural disadvantage. We need our partners in state government to close this gap and provide the foundational level of support all our students deserve.

In his State of the State today, Governor Pritzker highlighted his commitment to the children of Illinois, including his dedication to public schools and his faith in the funding based formula for education. With the Governor, the Board of Education, and the Mayor of Chicago all in agreement on our educational priorities, this is a chance to meaningfully fund the formula and make those resources a reality. It’s a chance to set a real baseline for quality education in every Chicago Public School. We ask that the Governor and State Legislature fund our schools in the ways they deserve.