Former Chicago Schools chief: McHenry taxpayers should pay more for Chicago schools
Chicago's Public Schools already spend more per-pupil than 17 of McHenry County’s 18 public school districts.
But their former CEO Arne Duncan says Chicago schools need more money still, and that taxpayers in the suburbs, not the city of Chicago, should pony it up.
"When you have a system that perpetuates inequity we have to challenge that," Duncan said Tuesday, appearing at a conference at the University of Chicago’s Gleacher Center, 450 N. Cityfront Plaza, Chicago. "We have to equalize funding."
Duncan, who served as Chicago Public Schools CEO from 2001-2009, then Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education from 2009 until resigning this past January, said the state of Illinois needs to change its “funding formula” to send more money to Chicago and less to suburban and downstate districts.
According to the Illinois State Board of Education, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) spent $15,120 per pupil last school year, more than all McHenry County districts.
The average per pupil-spending in McHenry County was $11,599 in 2015-16.
82 percent of McHenry County school funding comes from local property taxes ($9,579 per pupil), fourteen percent from the state ($1,555) and four percent from the federal government ($464).
Only 49 percent of CPS funding ($7,454) comes from Chicago property taxpayers. 34 percent ($5,171) comes from the state and 16 percent ($2,480) from the federal government.
Duncan also called for more spending on public schools overall.
"The funding here in Illinois for public schools is frankly a travesty. It's some of the lowest funding across the nation,” he said.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau Annual Survey of School Systems, average per-pupil public school spending in Illinois is $13,077, ranking 14th out of 50 states.
Illinois public schools have had the sixth largest percentage increase in spending since 2010, at 3.5 percent, after adjusting for inflation. Only 11 of 50 states have increased public school spending since 2010; 39 have lowered it, including Texas (-9.5 percent) and Wisconsin (-9.3 percent).