Our children are our future

Mayor Gary Graham

Mayor Gary Graham

Our children are our future, yet the State of Illinois is not providing them with the educational tools they need to succeed. The bureaucracy local schools endure on a day-to-day basis is unsustainable and unacceptable.

It is time to send more money to our school systems. It is time we give all Illinois children – from our youngest preschoolers in Central School District 104 and O’Fallon School District 90 to our high schoolers getting ready to graduate from O’Fallon Township High School – access to high quality educational options. By supporting these young scholars, we are laying a stronger foundation for the future of our state.

Unfortunately, more school districts in Illinois are expected to deficit spend this year. While deficit spending is not the current practice for O’Fallon Schools, it could be in the future, unless something is done in Springfield.

We need the General Assembly in Springfield to work together to fully fund General State Aid (GSA), which would end proration and provide our school districts the financial relief they need.

Education is the most important thing we can do as a society. That is why I support Governor Rauner’s proposal to fully fund PK-12 at the General State Aid foundation level for the first time in seven years – a record investment in our schools — and increase funding for early childhood education by $75 million — nearly a 25 percent increase.

I also support the legislation the Governor has advocated for that will save local districts money like mandate relief, workers compensation reforms, and local control of collective bargaining — free from intervention from the State Legislature. This combination of more resources and more flexibility will give school districts like ours the ability to better manage our resources for our communities and our children.

Instead of arguing and stonewalling, all legislators need to come to the table. They owe it to our children. I urge you to contact your local legislators: James F. Clayborne, Jr., Eddie Lee Jackson Sr., William Haine, Dwight Kay, Kyle McCarter, and Charles Meier, and tell them our children should not be used in a political game.

Legislation that provides funding to our schools should not be opposed by members of the Illinois Legislature just because the Governor is submitting it. Our elected officials in Springfield should do what is best for the children. Tell them it is time to get to work and act quickly to pass the Governor’s proposed PK-12 education funding bill.