The antiquated system to fund education in Illinois places two extraordinarily detrimental burdens on our U-46 students and taxpayers.
U-46 students suffer from a lack of fiscal resources available to support their classroom success. Our student body is 62.2% low income (8% higher than the state average) and 26.5% English learners (2 ½ times the state average). These two demographics strongly benefit from additional resources to improve academic progress, yet we spend $1,300 LESS per student than the statewide average ($6,095 vs. $7,419). This funding falls far short of the level students in most nearby school districts receive, and many of these districts have nowhere near the same levels of low income and English language learner students. In short, the current state-funding system leaves our more than 40,000 students at a considerable competitive disadvantage. This is unacceptable.
U-46 taxpayers similarly suffer. Out of a $494 million annual budget, U-46 taxpayers contribute over 64%, nearly $300 million in property taxes alone. Most of that burden falls upon the shoulders of our homeowners because U-46 is not blessed like other nearby districts with a high concentration of retail, office or industrial property. U-46 taxpayers contribute twice what the state provides, despite the state having primary responsibility for funding education in Illinois. This is unacceptable.
We believe the current education funding system is unfair and requires rectification by our state-elected officials.
We believe equitable education funding should incorporate the actual cost to educate low income students, English language learners and special needs students.
We envision a U-46 community – from our Board of Education to every student, parent, taxpayer and education professional – standing united in the pursuit of equitable education funding so that we may increase classroom resources and relieve the escalating burden on our property taxpayers.