IL House Speaker Madigan: Constitutional Amendment will Help Strengthen State Support for Education

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. –(ENEWSPF)–April 18, 2016.  Speaker of the Illinois House Michael J. Madigan on Monday issued the following statement regarding a constitutional amendment to strengthen education throughout Illinois:

“Every student in Illinois deserves an excellent education. By helping our schools deliver a world-class education to our children, we are helping teachers mold the minds of the leaders of tomorrow who can take our state, our country and our world to new heights of achievement. But when it comes to improving our education system, conversations are not enough. We have to put our words into actions.

“Too many school districts from every region of the state struggle to provide the excellent education they want to give our students. Increasing the per-pupil foundation level was and continues to be a needed step in the right direction, but it is not enough. We need to do more for our students.

“In February, Governor Rauner stated his support for increasing funding for elementary schools and high schools through the foundation level. I, too, support increasing the level of funding for our schools, as Democrats in the General Assembly did last year and have done for many years. But we need to do more.

“We must resolve to strengthen our education system and increase needed funding for our schools in the long term. So I urge members of the General Assembly and Governor Rauner to join me in support of making an excellent education a right for our children. I also urge Governor Rauner to resist the temptation to follow the lead of former Governor Jim Edgar, who opposed a similar plan to strengthen education during his tenure as governor. I encourage Governor Rauner to reaffirm his commitment to education by using his extensive influence within the House and Senate Republican caucuses to help pass this measure in the House Elementary and Secondary Appropriations Committee today and through both chambers of the General Assembly. With the governor’s help, we can better provide local schools with the additional resources they need to give our children a world-class education.

“Under House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 57, the state constitution would declare that an excellent education is no longer simply a goal of the people of Illinois, but a fundamental right, and that the state has the preponderant responsibility to fund local schools. In November 1992, I urged passage of a similar effort via referendum. Though the measure received the support of 57 percent of voters, opponents of the proposal succeeded in preventing it from attaining the 60 percent of support needed to amend the state constitution.

“This amendment deserves another chance to succeed, and our children deserve greater support to help them make their dreams a reality.”

Source: House Speaker Madigan’s Office