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State Board of Education recommends full funding for all schools and universal access to high-quality pre-k

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) today finalized its recommendation to Governor JB Pritzker and the General Assembly for a statewide public education budget for fiscal year 2020. ISBE calculated the cost of putting each child in the State of Illinois on the path to success. ISBE’s total FY 2020 budget recommendation of $19,314,873,800 represents 425 requests from communities around the state, gathered over a month of public hearings, as well as evidence showing what children need for long-term social and economic success. Each line item reflects the State Board’s equity values and beliefs, supporting each child’s right and ability to learn and the State’s ethical, moral, and legal responsibilities to set high expectations and ensure every student achieves success.


The recommended investment fulfills the state’s constitutional mandate to assume the primary responsibility for funding public education in Illinois. All but two counties in Illinois currently have at least one school district funded at a level below 90 percent of adequacy. The recommended budget would ensure that every student, regardless of their ZIP code, receives the access and opportunity they deserve and that every community benefits from thriving public schools at their centers.  


“The deep structural inequity in Illinois’ schools today did not happen by accident,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “Institutional decisions, both historical and ongoing, produce disparate and statistically predictable educational outcomes for Illinois students. Our funding choices must reflect our vision for the state as a place where all people can achieve social and economic security. When all children are born into conditions for them to succeed, the entire state thrives.” 


The recommended state investment in public education would result in every school district having full funding with local, state, and federal funds combined. View the total budget recommendation at  


The FY 2020 budget recommendation proposes significant strides toward equity and adequacy in several key areas:


Full Evidence-Based Funding – $11.765 billion to close the state funding gap in FY 2020


Every child deserves an equitably funded and high-quality public education system – within the current generation.  Illinois school districts’ financial capacity to meet high expectations ranges from 47.2 percent to 280.4 percent of adequate funding. Fulfilling the state’s commitment to full funding by June 2027 requires an annual increase of approximately $660 million for the next eight fiscal years based on FY 2019 EBF calculations. 


Universal Access to High-Quality Preschool – $2.4 billion for the Early Childhood Block Grant to ensure all students are put on the path to success


Illinois has an urgent opportunity and responsibility to align state policy and investment with what children need for long-term academic and social success. ISBE estimates 315,409 children ages 3 to 5 statewide are not served by an early childhood education program funded by the agency in FY 2019. Research shows early childhood education significantly impacts students’ social and economic outcomes. The recommendation provides all students access to high-quality prekindergarten programs and funding for the Prevention Initiative Program to serve children birth to age 3. 


Educator Recruitment and Recognition – $20.3 million for equitable access to teachers and leaders in every school and classroom


Teachers are essential to eliminating opportunity and achievement gaps in all public schools across Illinois. Ninety percent of the 2017 teaching vacancies were in districts funded below adequacy. ISBE’s Teach Illinois: Strong Teachers, Strong Classrooms report proposed a suite of research-backed solutions to the statewide teacher workforce crisis that school districts urgently need funding to implement. The recommendation supports diverse educator recruitment, teacher and principal mentoring, the Educators Rising teacher pipeline program, and teacher leadership.


Career-Connected Learning for the 21st Century – $12.6 million increase to help rural and other high-need districts update their Career and Technical Education opportunities


The 2017 update to the federal CTE law ushered in a new era for career-connected learning. Through CTE’s pathways and partnerships, students develop the skills, knowledge, and confidence to succeed in 21st century careers. Thriving CTE is critical to meeting the state’s goal of 60 percent of all Illinoisans obtaining a high-quality degree or credential by 2025. ISBE’s total recommended appropriation for CTE is $50.67 million.


ISBE will submit its complete budget book to Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly in February. 


View attributable quotes from educators and practitioners across the state at


Find the full budget recommendation and a comparison to FY 2019 appropriations at