Area Education Leaders Rally for Better School Funding

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Illinois is the fifth wealthiest state in the U.S., but when it comes to funding its public schools, the land of Lincoln ranks 48th in how much it provides to districts, and with area schools facing deficits and failed referendums, some argue funding reform is vital.

About 75 people from the Hononegah, Rockton and Winnebago districts caravanned to Springfield early Thursday morning. The group joined state education advocates in the Capitol rotunda for the better funding, better schools rally.

Students and teachers then met and asked questions to area lawmakers. The participants had mixed opinions of the politician's response to their better school funding pleas.

They hope more pressure downstate will help fix what they call a broken education funding system.

"So many jobs are needed now that have electives that we need in high school, and we're not going to get them if we keep cutting stuff," sixth grader Maya Brooks said.

"Our property taxes don't keep up with our expenses and we don't want to keep coming back to our constituents and ask them to keep increasing them. We have to cut things and we don't want to do that," Rockton School Board President Brenda Warren said.

When it comes to equitable funding, Illinois ranks second to last in the nation. The state provides anywhere between $4,300 to $18,000 per pupil.