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Illinois adults want more focus on education, IEA survey says

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VIENNA (WSIL) -- Slowly but surely, Vienna High School is getting closer to being adequately funded.

Superintendent Josh Stafford says the school was 52% funded in 2018, the first year evidence-based funding (EBF) was released. Its grown gradually each year, to 58% in 2020. Stafford says lawmakers need to create a plan so that all schools can reach 90% adequate funding.

"It doesn't just magically flip the switch to say every school in the state is adequately funded," Stafford said. "It still is a phase."

A new survey from the Illinois Education Association (IEA) found a lack of faith in the state's school system. The poll asked 1000 adults to grade the state's school system.

41% of adults graded the school system with a 'C' while 31% gave the system a 'D' or an 'F'. Stafford says the negativity toward the state school system is rooted in the state's lack of support for teachers before EBF was created.

The poll also indicates strong support to pay teachers more. 59% said growing high-quality schools should be the state's top priority. 23% felt the school system needs no changes.

Stafford says EBF hasn't been around very long, and that it will take some time for changes in the system to become noticeable. He adds lawmakers must lead the change in order to improve the attitude towards education.

"If we stay that course, we will absolutely see the outcome of a survey like this change in 10 years," Stafford said.

He believes the state needs to invest $650 million into EBF each year so schools can reach adequate funding levels over the next 15 years. Investing in education is among the topics Governor JB Pritzker is expected to mention in his budget address next week.

Danny Valle

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