STRATEGY AREA 2: Shape Policies



School funding should be fair, regardless of school type or neighborhood. If schools do not have adequate funds to operate, providing high-quality outcomes for students is not feasible. Even more, if schools are not operating within an equitable system where more disadvantaged students are provisioned with additional support to be successful, then our poorest children will continue to see outcomes that lag further and further behind their more affluent peers. This is especially true for the students who live in Chicago, where poverty rates are just under 90 percent and where nearly 50,000 students attend schools with “failing seats.”


In August 2017, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law historic school funding reform that creates an evidence-based formula for education funding by district. We play a key role in ensuring the new law is enacted with fidelity to ensure equity and adequacy for all kids. CPS regularly calls upon Kids First to offer its analysis on school funding and budgeting. We also support state-led coalitions working to promote funding equity across all districts and schools. 

*Note: Our statement on school funding was issued under our former name, New Schools for Chicago. 


Kids First Chicago works in tandem with many dedicated policy partners both locally in Chicago and across the state. We recognize that the issue of state and school funding is complex. We encourage you to explore our partners' information. 

ADVANCE ILLINOIS is equity-driven, student-centered, data-focused and connected to community and educators. We identify, design and advocate for policies that are tailored to the needs of students in Illinois. LEARN MORE