Financial problems lurking for Chicago

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Eight out of 10 children in Illinois attend schools without the resources to provide a basic education. The way we fund education in Illinois has become so distorted that some children receive five times more educational resources than others.

It must be clearly understood that the financial problems of the Chicago Public Schools are not yet over. The system is diverting critical state Chapter 1 funds for low-income students away from local schools, borrowing money for textbooks and equipment and, at the current rate of spending, will face a revenue shortfall of $100 million in three years.

Schools across the city have had to make tough choices about which programs to cut. For example, because of budget constraints Douglas Academy this year had to eliminate a special program that had helped raise the test scores of 93 students who were performing at low levels in reading and math. Also, average class size in Chicago is almost 10 percent higher than the state average.

If our children are to be ready for the information superhighway, the state must face up to its responsibility. Our schools need funding now, not after the November election. That is why we are planning to take parents and other concerned citizens to Springfield on March 27. Our message will be loud and clear: Just Do It Now—Fund Public Schools. Please join us and parents across Illinois. Transportation and lunch will be provided.

To sign up or to get more information, call the toll-free number: 1 (800) 627-2425.

James W. Compton, president and CEO

Chicago Urban League