Superintendent: Illinois Schools Will ‘Struggle’ Opening In Fall Without State Budget

Classroom
Pixabay
Classroom
Pixabay

Superintendent: Illinois Schools Will ‘Struggle’ Opening In Fall Without State Budget

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.