MEDIA USING INCORRECT STATISTICS IN DISCUSSING ILLINOIS SCHOOL FUNDING

CHICAGO–The media is using incorrect figures in discussing funding of Illinois public schools, confusing both the public and itself, charged the president of Illinois’ largest taxpayer organization.

“For example, in a recent article, one writer said property taxes pay for approximately 68% of Illinois public school funding,” said Jim Tobin, President of National Taxpayers United of Illinois (NTUI). “The same writer stated that the federal government’s share is ‘not significant.’” 

“In fiscal year 2006-07, local governments provided 57% of the funding, not 68%–a big error. As for the federal government’s share being ‘not significant,’ in fiscal year 2006-07, the federal government provided $2 billion or 9%. We’re not talking pennies here.”

“Since fiscal year 1986-87, total funding for Illinois public schools has gone up significantly every year without exception. Total public school funding was $7 billion in fiscal year 1986-87. It was $23 billion in fiscal year 2006-07, an increase of 228%.”

“From fiscal year 1996-97 to fiscal year 2006-07, total public school funding rose from $13 billion to $23 billion, an increase of 77%.”

“Taxpayer dollars have been pouring into the state’s public school systems. Keep in mind that 80% of these funds go to pay salaries and generous pensions. The state’s public school systems are not poor. Rather, the teachers and administrators are lining their pockets.”

“Politicians and the media say the state’s 33% share of school funding is not high enough. Fine, just reduce local property taxes significantly, and the state’s relative share will climb accordingly.”

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