More Cuts in Illinois Schools

April 11, 2004

In March, 5 school districts in Illinois announced major cutbacks in their school budgets. As a result, curriculum will be curtailed, teachers and other staff laid off and entire schools closed down. The recently announced cuts include:

- Thornton Township District 205 (including Harvey, Dolton, and South Holland) will immediately eliminate 90 teaching positions and 20 non-teaching jobs for the coming school year, slash student and teacher support services, extracurricular activities and athletics. On top of these cuts, the district is considering closing one of its high schools altogether.

- Troy District 30-C is laying off 40 teachers and support staff and planning to increase class sizes from 20 to 25 at the elementary level and from 25 to 30 in the middle schools.

- Crete-Monee District 201-U will cut 34 teaching and staff positions and eliminate music, art, physical education and gifted programs.

- Kirby School District 140 and Thornton Fractional District 215 also announced plans for teacher layoffs and curriculum cut backs.

Many more districts are expected to impose similar cutbacks in the coming period. In fact, 75% of the state's 893 school districts have large and growing budget deficits.

A major cause of this funding crisis is the fact the state and federal government are completely failing in their responsibility to fund the public schools. In Illinois, the state pays only 37% of the total funds for public education, while the federal government contributes less than 10%. Since local school boards, especially in poor and working class communities, have extremely limited resources, the public educational system is being run into the ground.

To turn things around, the people must demand that the state and federal governments properly invest in the public schools so that everyone is guaranteed the right to a modern education.