The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Editorials

November 3, 2013

It's time to fix schools

As Illinois lawmakers continue to allow a $100 billion pension funding crisis to fester, a potentially larger funding problem threatens to push the state into deeper economic woes.

As legislators in Indiana and Wisconsin consider ways to increase funding for their respective schools, their Illinois counterparts might have to — again — cut money for education.

Brain power fuels today’s economy. Excellent schools attract more jobs, which in turn creates more revenue for all aspects of government. And the opportunity for innovation generated by those educated in excellent schools holds the potential for even greater growth.

Yet Illinois lawmakers can’t figure out a way to even pay the full $6,119 per student as mandated by law. Instead, school districts across the state must hope for the best, never really knowing how much money the state might provide or when it might arrive. According to the Chicago Tribune, the average spent per pupil is $11,664, a number skewed greatly by district’s where poverty levels are low and property values high. When the state fails to provide even its minimum, the gap between affluent and not-so affluent school districts widens.

The situation simply is inexcusable.

The first step toward a solution is for the General Assembly to fix the state’s pension problem, and then to keep whatever funding promises are part of the solution. The cause of the problem rests squarely on lawmakers who diverted funds away from the pension plan to more politically advantageous destinations. Newly paved highways get more votes than a funded pension plan or better schools.

Then lawmakers must make a commitment to propel Illinois schools into the nation’s top tier for performance and support. According to a 2010 study by Rutgers University and the Education Law Center in New Jersey, Illinois ranks among the bottom three states in terms of education funding fairness. And the problem has worsened since then.

Without a concerted effort to improve Illinois schools — and their funding — the state can expect to see more jobs go to their Midwestern neighbors who recognize the value of a strong education system.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • Georgetown's fair a good one Saturday kicks off one of the largest events of the summer, as the Georgetown Fair begins. The eight-day fair always attracts big crowds with its variety of attractions.The fair board members work all year putting together a top-notch event. This yea

    August 1, 2014

  • Put full focus on driving Illinois motorists, thanks to a recent state law, should not use a hand-held mobile device such as a cell phone while they drive. However, anyone who has even casually watched traffic pass by knows many drivers ignore the law.Distracted driving can c

    July 27, 2014

  • Two extremes in job market The local employment scene seems a bit schizophrenic lately. Local officials point to a large number of job openings in the area, but at the same time the Danville Metropolitan Statistical Area recorded the highest unemployment rate in June of all 12

    July 25, 2014

  • No news can be good news As the problems at some Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers continue to come to light, we’ve heard no complaints about the VA’s Illiana Health Care System. That’s good news for those who receive treatment there and for those who work there

    July 23, 2014

  • Donate to Salvation Army Believe it or not, one Danville District 118 school will open its doors Monday to begin a new year. Northeast Elementary Magnet School operates on a balanced calendar, and will start classes next week.The remainder of Danville and area schools will b

    July 18, 2014

  • Downtown remains key Members of Downtown Danville Inc. say goodbye soon to the group’s director, Dana Schaumburg, as she steps away to pursue other professional opportunities. Shaumburg has done a nice job with DDI, and everyone wishes her luck.The opening gives DDI memb

    July 13, 2014

  • Laura Lee vital to all Laura Lee Fellowship House marks its 100th year of serving the Danville community this year, and its leaders also must deal with a serious threat to the agency.Tough economic times during the past decade or so have rocked many non-profit agencies. No

    July 11, 2014

  • Demolitions will help all Danville officials recently approved spending more than $200,000 to remove vacant, dilapidated structures. That’s a hefty piece of change, but spending the money now should yield dividends in the future.City officials have fought a battle against dil

    July 9, 2014

  • Celebrate our birthday Flags will fly today, fireworks will explode and freedom will be celebrated as Americans mark their Independence Day, the Fourth of July. For 238 years, we have marked the day with speeches, parades and all sorts of festivities — just as those who si

    July 4, 2014

  • New trail will help many A long-planned recreational trail between Kickapoo State Park just northwest of Danville and the city of Urbana moved significantly closer to reality this week with the state’s announcement it had purchased the final piece of property for the project

    July 3, 2014

E-edition
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
NDN Video
Under Armour Launches Biggest Women's Campaign with Inspiring Ad NYPD chokehold death of Eric Garner was homicide: medical examiner Christina Aguilera Pulls a Demi Moore! Man with no arms throws first pitch Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Is Justin Bieber Dating a Model? Guardians of the Galaxy (Trailer) 'Sharknado 2:' Hottest Memes Surfing The Net Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Recapping a Blockbuster MLB Trade Deadline Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2"
Must Read