One of the most enduring and popular Illinois myths is that government-run “public” education in this state is under-funded. We’re regularly reading reports of a “budget crisis” here or a “shortfall” there – and calls for taxpayers to stop being so stingy. “It’s for the kids!”
Answer #2: Legislators say so. What proof do they offer? None. They take the word of their friends in the education community and completely shirk their own oversight responsibility. Answer #3: The media says so. What proof do they offer? None. They also take the word of their friends in the education community. Why is it that some bureaucrats are always taken at their word? Lake County businessman Jack Martinhas recently done the kind of work you’d hope to see from legislators or members of the press. He has researched the facts concerning government-run “public” education revenue and spending not only for the entire state – but also for a few key Lake County school districts that are crying poor. What he’s discovered is yet more evidence that monopolies don’t work, government needs oversight and an education degree is probably the worst thing you can have if you’re going to manage a multi-million dollar enterprise. The facts shatter the myth and show that the small percentage of districts with legitimate needs reveals only a distribution of funds problem. Illinois taxpayers have increased funding to the public schools at over double the rate of inflation over the past 15 years. We now spend over $20 billion a year and average $10,000 per student. That’s enough money. How do we know that? Because private schools do it at two-thirds the cost and produce better results. Here’s a little of what Jack Martin found out about Lake County public schools – where they’re swimming in cash:
- Total revenues supporting Lake County Schools are up 180%,
- Property taxes are up 147%, and
- Revenues per student are up 84%, though student population has increased only 52%.