SILVIS, Ill. - Superintendents and Rep. Tony McCombie (R-Savanna) spoke out about the funding issues in Illinois public schools on Thursday morning.
Funding Illinois' Future hosted the discussion as part of the "Fix the Formula" movement. The goal was to inform the public about the problem and make a call to action. McCombie spoke, as well as superintendents from regions and districts all over the area.
"I believe that we all know that things are going to move when legislative leaders and the governor all get together and and decide that they want to play nice in the sandbox," said superintendent of Galesburg Community School District Ralph Grimm. "But we need to apply some pressure. We need to make that happen."
The 20-year-old funding system in Illinois is ranked as one of the worst in the nation. For every dollar the average student in Illinois receives for funding, a low-income student only receives $0.81.
"You have our commitment that we are not just politicians, we are not just campaigning, we want to put education first and we will put education first, and that includes the funding," said Representative McCombie. "I think that's important. Everybody runs on that but nobody does anything. "
"We're going to have to break down and not just look at our district. We've got to have breakdown and say our legislative boundaries do not matter. We have to be willing to look at our party lines and say we're willing to go past that," said Regional Superintendent of Henderson-Mercer-Warren and Knox School District. "Right now, we need to be citizens of the state of Illinois. We need to look at all of our children, and if we can do that these decisions can be made and we can move forward in a fair way."
The goal of the tour the administrators and legislators are taking across the state is to educate people on the issue, explain the EBM, and give resources for action. All want to see something done before education in Illinois suffers more than it already has.
"Politics have nothing to do with it," said McCombie. "And they need to get out of our towns, they need to get out of our businesses and they especially need to get out of our schools."
"We've got to do this, our kids need us," said Grimm. "Now's the time. Let's get it done."
The tour has stopped in seven cities the past four days, including the one in Silvis Thursday morning and one in Chicago Thursday night. You can find more information on their website. There are also tips on how to contact your local legislator.