ROCKFORD - Some
A closer look education funding in
Meanwhile, a local school district is now a year into it's contract negotiations with no sign of compromise, a common situation that might not be as contentious if funding was being shared equally.
At McNair Elementary in Winnebago teachers line the hallways to support their negotiating team as they head to the table in hopes of hammering out a multi-year contract.
"We want to put the money where the kids are at," said Winnebago Education Association spokesperson Kirsten Garrigan. "And we see it not going in those directions."
Garrigan says teachers there haven't had a contract all year, and have seen teaching positions consolidated or removed.
"We seem to be getting more and more responsibilities with bigger class loads, and bigger responsibilities on top of that, and it is really hard to juggle them all," said Garrigan.
A situation many other downstate schools
are seeing. Some local lawmakers are now
blaming these situations on a disproportionate amount of money going to fund Chicago
Senator Dillard and Senator Dave Syverson
say records show in the last decade
The money went there by way of poverty and property tax grants, money that could have been used to fund the state's pension system.
"It should be fair, and it's not," said Garrigan.
"We should be getting the same amount percentage of money for the same amount of kids," said Garrigan. But they're not, and Senator Dillard says coupled with a collapsing pension system, the state has no money for other services.
"Pensions squeezes out our ability to really do anything," said Dillard.
Teachers in Winnebago plan to attend the school board meeting next Monday to show support for a healthy contract negotiation.
Our local lawmakers say they hope attention on the disproportionate spending will cause the state to make sure education funds are being distributed evenly moving forward.