More than 400 school superintendents from across Illinois — representing more than 1 million students — are posting messages outside their schools and on Twitter starting Monday to call on the governor and state lawmakers to pass a state budget.
After 22 months without a budget in Illinois, state superintendents said schools can’t handle another year without one.
“If there is no budget in place at the state level, I think districts across the state will struggle opening at all,” said Tony Sanders, CEO of School District U-46, the state’s second largest district based in northwest suburban Elgin.
The marquees outside his 57 schools on Monday all displayed the same message: Pass Illinois’ budget.
“The state currently owes our district $25 million, and that’s for programs such as special education, transportation and bilingual education,” Sanders said.
In a hashtag campaign using #PassILBudget, superintendents around the state chimed in.
“Right now, Illinois owes Beach Park School District $1,432,900.39!” wrote Nancy Wagner, superintendent of Beach Park School District 3 in Lake County, on Twitter on Monday.
Asked about the superintendents’ campaign, the governor’s office put the onus on state lawmakers.
“The governor urges the General Assembly to pass a balanced budget with reforms so that our educational system, from cradle-to-career, will receive the resources that are needed to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of Illinois children,” the governor’s office said in a statement.
Linda Lutton covers education for WBEZ. Follow her at @WBEZEducation.