Governor Pritzker’s budget address is coming up on February 2, 2022. Illinois PTA is encouraging all PTA members to send a note to the governor asking him to include at least $350 million in increased funding to the Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) formula for FY23. The governor did not include increased EBF funding in last year’s budget request, but advocacy by Illinois PTA and other organizations convinced the legislature to include it in the final budget.
The EBF formula was created to address Illinois’s worst-in-the-nation inequitable school funding. It directs the majority of the new school funding dollars to the school districts furthest away from an adequate level of funding, and it is working. When the formula was enacted, 160 school districts at less than 60% of adequate funding. Today, that number is down to 10 districts below 60% adequacy. While this progress indicates that EBF is working, we still have a long way to go, as half of all Illinois students are still in districts below 70% adequate funding.
Since the EBF formula is designed to include any increase in funding a district receives in future years, school districts can use those funds to hire teachers, literacy specialists, and make long-term investments in improving student success because they know the money will be there to pay for those new investments in the following years. While pandemic funding has also provided money to schools, those funds are often restricted in how they can be used and are only a one-time infusion of money, making them impractical for hiring teachers and staff.
If you’ve never done it before, sending a message to the governor is easier than you think. Simply click on this link to go to the Illinois PTA Call to Action. You will find a pre-written letter to the governor that you can send as it is written, or you can add information on how the EBF funding has made a difference in your child’s school. Add your contact information and then click “send.” It takes only a minute or two.