Orland Park Trustee James Dodge isn’t surprised to see the numbers not adding up when it comes to Illinois school districts.
A new Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) report finds that even as the number of students enrolled in Illinois school districts continue to dwindle, the number of bureaucrats and administrators on state payrolls at such institutions remain on the rise.
“It doesn’t surprise me that’s the trend, especially when you think about the Illinois exodus that we’re still experiencing,” Dodge told the Prairie State Wire. “And it doesn’t surprise me that the state is facing a teacher shortage because these are motivated and educated people who probably don’t like the thought of working for a career just to get screwed out of a pension in the end.”
According to IPI, over a four-year period ending in 2018, student enrollment at Illinois K-12 public school districts and the number of teachers employed in the system both fell by about 2 percent. Over that same period, the number of administrators in the system increased by roughly those same numbers.
At $581 per pupil, Illinois already spends more on average per pupil on school district administration than any state in the region and nearly double that of the national average, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The state’s 852 school districts also consume nearly two-thirds of all the property tax revenue collected in the state.
“We should demand that school officials justify these increases in administrators,” Dodge said. “The money should be going to classroom spending, but right now it seems like it’s everything but that. We need concerned school officials and elected school board members to let the people know what’s going on. We need to start looking at Springfield and Washington D.C. because that’s where a lot of the problems are coming from with all the programs they’re creating without having any funding for them.”