Report shows major issues with where education funding is going in Illinois
Illinois spends more than any other state in the Midwest on education, according to a report by Wirepoints.
That money, however, is not going into the right departments.
The report notes that non-teaching staff at Illinois schools grew by 40 percent between 1992 and 2015, while students grew by 11 percent and teachers grew by 20 percent.
There would be 33,000 fewer employees if non-teaching staff had grown at the same rate as students, according to the report.
The report also notes that there are redundant administrative jobs, including human resources employees, technology employees and bookkeeping employees, among others. There also would be fewer employees if certain townships consolidated their multiple districts.
The report also says that superintendents in New Trier Township are paid more than others across the state, with salaries of more than $200,000, and, in some cases, more than $300,000.
As of 2017, Illinois had 852 school districts for its 2,053,720 students. The number of students per district is 2,410, which is much less than in many other states, according to the report.
If the state could consolidate many of its districts, it could put that money into where many people say it needs to be—in classrooms.
Illinois spends more than $14,000 per student, which is nearly double what Kentucky and Indiana spend per student and 22 percent more than what Michigan doles out, according to the report. Illinois' numbers are 21 percent more than the national average.
Ted Dabrowski, president of Wirepoints, said in a press release that Illinois did not need to seek out more funding for education, but rather redirect it to classrooms.
“The education establishment knows [that] there isn’t enough money to preserve the system they benefit from and, at the same time, fund Illinois’ neediest districts," Dabrowski said.
The report notes that pension benefits for more than 30,000 employees total more than $100,000.