The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) gears up for a pivotal vote this Wednesday to propose a budget to Governor Pritzker, amid strong advocacy for a $550 million annual boost in evidence-based funding (EBF) to ensure K-12 school districts are fully funded by 2027.
Background: Though EBF legislation commits the state to fully fund schools by 2027, Illinois leaders have continuously failed to provide school districts with the full funding they need, instead only committing to an additional $350 million more in education funding annually.
By the Numbers:
CPS faces a structural deficit of $691 million. In FY25, the deficit is projected to be $391 million due to the availability of $300 million in remaining ESSER (COVID-19 relief) funds.
But in FY26 and beyond, CPS faces an overwhelming budget crisis with no clear path to fiscal stability.
If Illinois leaders committed to fully funding CPS based on its needs, the district would receive $1.1 billion in new funding.
The Center for Budget and Tax Accountability (CTBA) projects that if the state continues the practice of funding K-12 education at the minimum funding level of $350 million, it will take until at least FY2034 — 17 years after EBF was implemented and seven years past what is required in statute — for school districts like CPS to be fully funded.
Reality Check: State fiscal experts predict significant budgetary constraints for Illinois.
The state is projecting an FY2025 budget deficit of $891 million. The deficit is expected to rise to $1.4 billion in FY26 and $1.66 billion in FY27.
The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget has predicted ISBE can expect to receive an additional $425 million in revenue next year, with $350 million – the minimum funding amount – going to EBF.
At its December Board meeting, ISBE’s chief financial officer warned of “conservative” state education budgets for the foreseeable future.
What to expect:
All signs point to ISBE recommending $350 million toward EBF at its meeting this week.
Advocates for increased EBF funding, including Kids First Chicago, have shifted their focus to Governor Pritzker’s budget release next month.
What’s Next: ISBE’s budget recommendations are just that – recommendations. Governor Pritzker will release his budget on February 21, 2024. The state legislature will then debate and approve the budget later this spring.