SPRINGFIELD – The following statement is attributable to Illinois Education Association President Kathi Griffin:
“We appreciate that the governor is willing to look at a variety of ways to continue the state’s funding obligations by closing tax loopholes rather than increasing taxes on all struggling families and we urge state government to continue to look for more funding resources. Our state legislature made a brave decision in 2017 and changed the formula for funding education in Illinois. Part of that change included boosting education funding by at least $350 million a year for 10 years to try to get the state up to 80 percent of its base funding level required by our state’s constitution – 80 percent – and to try to give Illinoisans property tax relief. And, while we understand there was an economic downturn that caused flat funding last year and a worldwide pandemic this year that caused fiscal challenges, we can’t move forward if we keep holding ourselves back. Funding the formula needs to be high on the list for any new revenue, as does increasing funding for higher education. We hold out hope that as vaccinations increase and cases decrease, the economic outlook for Illinois can continue to improve and education can be funded to the fullest extent.”
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.