SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – One education funding expert slammed Senator Darren Bailey over his plans to cut $10 to $15 billion of the state’s budget.
“I can’t believe that someone who wants to be taken seriously as a candidate for governor could make such an outrageous claim,” Ralph Martire, the executive director of the bipartisan Center for Tax and Budget Accountability said.
Bailey made that remark during the first governor’s debate. Since then, Bailey said he wants to make those budget cuts to schools to reduce administrative costs.
“We’ve got to slash administrative costs, and we’ve got to get that money to go to the classrooms, because the vast majority of our students all across Illinois, cannot read,” Bailey said Wednesday while on his “Get out the Vote” bus tour. “They cannot write, they cannot do math at grade level. And that must change.”
Out of the state budget’s $46 billion, $32 billion of that goes to pay for services including education, health care, social services and public safety. The other roughly $14 billion goes towards paying for items the state is required to pay by contract. Martire said because of this, any budget cuts Bailey plans to make if elected would come out of the $32 billion.
“I think anyone that makes that kind of claim that seems to counter any sort of rational analysis of the data, ought to at the same time, say, here are the specific places I plan to cut, and the dollar amounts for each cut,” Martire said. “That would at least allow us to evaluate whether or not candidate Bailey has any credibility to the claim.”
But Martire, who is also a professor of public policy at Roosevelt University, said now is not the time to cut funding to schools since they’re not getting enough money right now.
“[The] total investment going into K-12 Education is $3.7 billion less than what the evidence indicates is needed for every school district to have the resources it requires to educate the students it serves,” Martire said.
Martire co-wrote the evidence based funding model which is designed to use certain metrics to determine the amount of money schools need to give students a proper education. Those metrics include total enrollment, and the number of English learners, low income students and students with disabilities. It passed in 2018 under Republican Governor Bruce Rauner.
“The model says, here’s the dollar amount of resources you need, you don’t need $1 more,” Martire said. “So that’s very accountable to the taxpayers and to voters.”
Martire said if Bailey was elected and followed through with the budget cuts, schools won’t be fully funded given the rising costs of inflation. The model is supposed to be fully funded by 2028 but he said now, it won’t reach that until 2040.
“We’re very far away from fully funding the model, and you skip another year, skip another two, that means another generation of kids has to go through a K-12 education system that doesn’t have adequate resources to implement the evidence based practices that have been shown to allow every student to receive the kind of education they need to achieve academically,” Martire said.