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IFT Statement on the Adjournment of the Legislative Session

Illinois Federation of Teachers (IFT) President Dan Montgomery issued this statement following the adjournment of the spring legislative session and passage of the FY 25 budget:

“Passing this budget is crucial for our state's success. The IFT supports and applauds the legislature's additional investments in early childhood education of $75 million, an additional $350 million toward the school funding formula, and continued investment in teachers’ recruitment and retention programs. However, the meager increase in higher education funding falls woefully short. Our state needs sustainable revenue solutions to ensure full funding for PreK-12, higher education, and early childhood programs now. Supporting these foundational areas is essential for strengthening our state and making Illinois the best place to work, live, and thrive. It's clear that we still do not have a sufficient, sustainable, rational and fair revenue system.

‘Since Illinois shifted to the Evidence-Based Funding (EBF) model for K-12 schools, the legislature has allocated, on average, $350 million, or the bare minimum statutory funding level required each fiscal year. The EBF funding gap for public schools stands at $2.3 billion. The original promise of the Evidence-Based Funding for Student Success Act, passed in 2017, was that EBF would be fully funded by 2027. At our current rate of investment, EBF will not be fully funded until 2040. To fulfill the legislature's promise to public schools and students, we must increase our investment. Illinois urgently needs robust revenue streams and serious discussions about securing sustainable funding. We must not fail yet another generation of Illinois children.

“The additional $10 million for the Monetary Assistance Program (MAP), bringing full investment in the program to $711 million, is a commendable step. This increased funding will enhance the financial stability of our public colleges and universities, making higher education more affordable for students, particularly Black, Brown, and low-income students who benefit the most. A two percent increase to our state universities is not good enough, however. Funding for our state universities has been decimated over the past two decades and it shows. They require meaningful re-investment now.

“In light of the ongoing teacher shortage and the critical need to hire and retain a more diverse teaching force, securing the Grow Your Own program funding was essential, as was continued funding for teacher vacancy grants. These are two very positive, continued investments in the next generation of teachers. Eliminating the Virtual Instructional Coach (VIC) program is a deeply misguided decision, however. At a time when teacher retention is crucial, dismantling a proven support system designed to nurture and retain talent is a step backward for our schools.

“By ensuring pension payments are made as mandated by law, the legislature has taken a crucial step to secure the financial stability of our retirees and honor the commitments already made to hardworking public servants. We look forward to continued discussion around repairs to the inadequate "Tier II" pension, which is widely agreed to violate federal law, and to creating a fairer structure that is properly resourced for the long term while addressing the dire shortages in teaching and public service workforces.

“The IFT expresses our gratitude to legislators for their hard work and collaboration throughout this session. As we move forward, we are committed to intensifying our efforts and working collectively to identify sustainable revenue streams. These crucial revenue discussions are essential to ensuring Illinois remains a strong economic state and continues to thrive for all its residents while supporting and funding our education and public service priorities.”


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