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ISBE looks for input before creating school budget

MT. VERNON (WSIL) — Members from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) are seeking input from educators in order to build the state’s school budget for next fiscal year.

ISBE member Jane Quinlan says they’ve held meetings in East St. Louis and Bloomington prior to arriving in Mt. Vernon Wednesday afternoon. She says the meetings give board members a chance to hear the different perspectives of teachers across Illinois.

"We have a number of people who come and advocate for different levels of funding for different programs," Quinlan said. "That gives us some good information as well as some stories about what’s being done with that funding or what could be done with increased funding.

Teacher Tammy Kuper, a finalist for Illinois 2020 teacher of the year, suggested that the state should find a way to adopt the Educators Rising program, a national effort meant to put more teaching degrees in students’ hands.

"It would begin in high school. It could be supported by community colleges who hopefully would jump on board and be able to offer some dual credit options to our students and eventually coordinate with universities too," Kuper said.

Others lauded the benefits of evidence-based funding formula (EBF). Enacted in 2017, EBF helps determine the cost of educating all students and distributes funds appropriately.

Vienna schools superintendent Joshua Stafford says while EBF has helped improved some schools, he says there’s a long way to go before the state can adequately fund schools.

"We’re still in recovery mode in so many ways," Stafford said.

ISBE will hold a fourth meeting in Chicago on November 21. They hope to pass a budget in January and send it to the state legislature.

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