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For Immediate Release
December 18, 2003

State Board to release Condition of Education Report for 2003

(CHICAGO) – Recognizing that a district’s ability to meet the ever increasing demands upon schools is inhibited by limited available state and local resources, the Illinois State Board of Education Thursday recommended that the state tap additional revenue sources for the state’s common school fund.

The recommendation is included in the board’s 2003 Condition of Education Report, which addresses what Illinois Public Schools need to meet state standards, as well as those required under the No Child Left Behind Act. The Board adopted the report Thursday. It will be available in its final version next week.

“If Illinois is truly dedicated to not leaving one child behind, then we have to ask ourselves, if we don’t begin to provide schools the resources this year to meet that goal, then when?” State Superintendent of Education Robert Schiller said.

The recommendation for tapping additional revenues was part of the board’s comprehensive review of the condition of education in Illinois, including the state funds education. The board further adopted principles it believes must be used in any proposed reform of education funding, some of which include:

  • Not placing an excessive burden on any one group of taxpayers.
  • Taxes should be fair, equitable, reasonable, and efficient, as well broad, general and low as possible.
  • Illinois must generate sufficient resources to fund an adequate education.

“Not addressing the revenue side of education would be foolhardy,” said Board Secretary Richard Sandsmark. “Districts statewide know that their revenues and expenditures are not living in a parallel universe.”

Board chair, Dr. Janet Steiner added: “As a board, our ultimate goal is to support schools in their quest to graduate productive citizens. The state, and therefore the Board, must address both sides of the education equation to fulfill that goal.”

The board also adopted program priorities for the FY05 recommended education budget, which include the funding of: state mandates before other programs; programs that provide districts financial flexibility to best meet their local needs; and those programs that districts would not have the means to provide otherwise.

The Condition of Education report is a snapshot of the current face of education in Illinois, as well as a blueprint of what is needed for continued success and greater achievement.

Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777