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What Mike Madigan won't say about education spending

10 months ago Joshua Dwyer | Illinois Policy Institute

Several facts left unsaid during push for "millionaire's tax"

From Joshua Dwyer | Illinois Policy Institute:

When House Speaker Michael Madigan issued a press release about his new tax proposal last week – which levies a 3 percent surcharge on income over $1 million, which Madigan said will provide funding for schools – he highlighted the struggles of districts across the state to balance their books.

Unfortunately, he neglected to mention these real facts about Illinois education spending:

  • Other than in fiscal year 2009, when Illinois received more than $1 billion in K-12 federal stimulus funds, state spending on education has never been higher. State funding, which totaled $9.4 billion in fiscal year 2013, has grown 61 percent – in real terms – since 1993. Spending per student reached an all-time high of $11,842 in 2013 – a 13 percent increase – in real terms – since 1999.
  • A large share of new education funding is going toward pay nonteaching salaries. From 1999-2009, public school staff grew at more than twice the rate of the state’s student population – 27.8 percent versus 14.3 percent. Teaching staff grew at 1.5 times the student population, and administrative and other nonteaching staff grew 2.5 times faster than the student population.
  • The state’s lowest-performing schools have seen a real increase of 24 percent in funding over the last decade, but their performance has stagnated.

Madigan’s message is simple: more money for kids. It’s easy to sell and can be communicated in a single sound byte. But simple messages are simple for a reason – they often hide the facts and the analysis that shows the complete picture. In a state where politicians routinely mislead to get their way, Illinoisans deserve to know the whole story – not the one-sided version that is being sold to them to gain their support.

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