Advance Illinois Responds to Governor Pritzker’s Proposed FY22 Budget
Advance Illinois Communications
CHICAGO, IL – Illinois faces serious budgetary challenges, which have been exacerbated by the dramatic impact of COVID-19. It will not be easy to address the many and varied issues that pre-existed the pandemic and have been compounded by it.
Governing is hard, and we do not envy the governor or members of the General Assembly who have difficult decisions to make. While we understand the competing pressures on the state’s limited resources and applaud additional funding for MAP grants, it is nonetheless disappointing that the proposed budget contains cuts for some early childhood programs, and, for the second year in a row, calls for mostly flat funding across the education continuum, including no new funds for the Evidence-Based Formula (EBF).
There is nothing easy about the coming year’s budget, and we believe Governor Pritzker is committed to increasing education funding for early childhood education and care, K-12 and higher education. And this we know: education is the single most important investment we can make in our children and our future. It’s why we passed the Evidenced-Based Funding formula five years ago, and it’s why we committed as a state to put at least $350 million new dollars into that formula every year for ten years.
No one could have foreseen COVID-19 and the growing impacts of the pandemic, and it has unquestionably made it harder to keep this commitment. It also has made the road ahead harder for all children and deepened already unacceptable racial, economic, and regional disparities.
Federal funds meant to facilitate school reopening and early recovery will help. But make no mistake, relief dollars are needed to address immediate and ongoing COVID-19-related issues such as health and safety measures, closing the digital divide to permit all children access to virtual learning, and short-term efforts to provide additional academic, social and emotional supports. These one-time federal funds are not meant to support the deeper ongoing staffing and programmatic investments that are needed to drive student success into the future. The same holds true for early childhood education and care, universities and community colleges.
We are heartened to hear that legislators plan to prioritize education funding. Our children’s futures require dependable and growing investments, and they are counting on us to keep our promises now more than ever. As circumstances continue to evolve, we urge the General Assembly to exhaust every means possible to uphold the state’s commitment to not only maintain education funding, but to continue to grow it for children birth through career.
About Advance Illinois
Advance Illinois is an independent policy and advocacy organization working toward a healthy public education system that enables all students to achieve success in college, career and civic life. Since its founding in 2008, Advance Illinois has become a nationally recognized thought leader in education policy advocacy. To learn more, visit advanceillinois.org.