A thirteen percent increase in the state school budget still does not bring per-pupil spending close to an advisory board’s recommendation. What’s more, Illinois State Board of Education chairman Gery Chico suggests the situation has long been unconstitutional. “The 1970 (Illinois) Constitution says that the state has the primary responsibility to fund our public schools,” Chico said.
“I don’t think by any measure we’re living to that, and I don’t think we should continue the ruse that we’re living to that.” The increase the ISBE approved Thursday brings the total to $7.4 billion, or $6,119 per student. The state’s Education Funding Advisory Board recommends $8,672. Board members learned two-thirds of the state’s school districts are in deficit. Chico said he’s frustrated by local tax caps which restrict increases in school funding.