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Non-profit policy think tank disputes poll that favors spending more on education

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(The Center Square) – Illinois’ largest union is out with the results of an education survey showing that respondents want more money spent on education, but some disagree.

The Illinois Education Association’s poll of 1,000 adults found a majority of respondents favoring more spending on education.

“The percentage of Illinoisans overall who believe funding for schools should increase jumped up by nine points from last year to this year,” said Al Llorens, president of the IEA.

The poll found that 65% said they favor an increase in education spending, while only 9% said it should be decreased.

Not everyone is on board with spending more money on education, including Ted Dabrowski, president of the non-profit policy think tank Wirepoints.

“That is a categorical no,” said Dabrowski. “We shouldn’t spend another penny on education, we already spend the 9th most in the country right now.”

In 2021, Illinois spent over $18,000 on average per student. The national average is closer to $14,000. It is much higher in Chicago where the district spends nearly $30,000 per student.

In January, the Illinois State Board of Education approved a budget request that included a $653 million increase in funding for PreK-12 public schools. The budget included a $350 million increase in Evidence-Based Funding.

“We have had the biggest increase in spending in the country over the last 15 years,” said Dabrowski. “No other state has increased spending like we have since 2007, and yet we see no benefits, there’s no accountability, there’s no improvement in reading or math, so it’s really money that is just being thrown into a black hole.”

Dabrowski notes that Tennessee, Texas and Alabama have 4th-grade reading results roughly the same as Illinois, even though Illinois spends 60% to 80% more per student than those states.