Illinois Education
6:06 am
Mon April 15, 2013

Education Official: Schools in "Free Fall"

Andrea Brown
Andrea Brown
Credit ISBE

Illinois educational officials told a Senate panel a lack of money makes it the “worst of times” for public schools. State funding has been slashed in recent years – and another round of cuts has been proposed.

Andrea Brown began teaching in Illinois in 1957. Now a member of the State Board of Education, Brown says even when compared to previous economic struggles:   

“I have never seen our schools in such free fall.” - Andrea Brown

   Governor Pat Quinn’s budget proposal would cut state funding to schools by more than $300 million. The board, though, says its budget should be increased – by almost $900 million – to make up for cuts over the last five years. Board Chairman Gery Chico says the state does not pay what is needed for students to receive what he calls an “adequate” education.   

“This formula we’re working off of right now – it’s a clunker. This thing belongs in the Smithsonian.” - Gery Chico

   The state superintendent says more than four billion extra dollars are needed to reach an “adequate” level.He says  two-thirds of Illinois school districts are operating with budget deficits. Illinois Public Radio's Chris Slaby contributed to this report.