SPRINGFIELD – “Obviously, we are very pleased with the state’s vision for education in Illinois. Governor Pritzker talked today about the importance of investing in our state’s future by investing in its youth. To see, for the third year straight, another $350 million new dollars for evidence-based funding, an increase in preschool funding and investment in early childhood programs shows a true commitment by this state to its young.
“Dedicating more than $16 million to recruiting diverse and effective teachers to help fill nearly 2,000 open teaching positions around the state is encouraging and, we hope, will help assist in addressing the current shortage.
“The idea of increasing college affordability and expanding economic opportunity by dedicating $50 million in new money to the MAP grants at both the community college and university levels is a great idea. The increased funding proposals for universities ($55.6 million) and community colleges ($14.9 million) will be a shot in the arm for higher education programs that have been starved for a number of years.
“We understand that revenue is up for a variety of reasons, but we also understand that passing the Fair Tax could lead to an additional $1.4 billion in our state’s coffers while having no effect, or resulting in a tax cut, to 97 percent of Illinoisans. That revenue is key to Illinois’ economic recovery and will allow the state to continue to invest in its future, our students.”
The 135,000 member Illinois Education Association (IEA-NEA) is the state’s largest education employee’s organization. IEA represents preK-12 teachers outside of the city of Chicago and education support staff, higher education faculty, retired education employees and students preparing to become teachers, statewide.