Written by, Adam Schuster, Director of Budget & Tax Research – Illinois Policy
Illinois spends the most in the Midwest per student on education. But instead of going to classrooms, a big chunk of that money props up bloated education bureaucracy.
Over 9,000 school administrators earned more than $100,000 per year, and they’ll each receive $3 million or more in pension benefits during their retirements, according to an Illinois Policy Institute analysis of the most recent public data available. While school districts pay administrators’ salaries and benefits through local property taxes, state taxpayers are on the hook for those pension costs.
Illinois has the fifth-largest number of school districts in the nation. Excluding Chicago Public Schools, Illinois school districts serve just 1,900 students on average, nearly half the national average of 3,600 students per district. And most Illinois school districts serve fewer than 1,000 students.
It’s wrong to divert education dollars to prop up a bloated administrative spending.
For students to receive a quality education, more resources need to reach schools rather than the administrative bodies overseeing them. To help ensure teachers and students have the resources they need, Springfield should empower local communities to consolidate costly and redundant school districts. State Rep. Rita Mayfield, D-Waukegan, last spring got a bipartisan bill to do just that passed out of the House. That legislation will be on the table again once the legislature reconvenes.