CFL News
February 02, 2012

IFT supports Quinn’s efforts to fix budget problems

The Illinois Federation Teachers responds to Gov. Pat Quinn's State of the State address supporting his call for job creation and investment in schools

IFT supports Quinn’s efforts to fix budget problems
Statement of IFT President Daniel J. Montgomery on Gov. Quinn’s SOS speech

Governor Quinn’s focus on the economy is right on target. We must create good jobs and a growing economy to support all citizens, our schools and services.

We appreciate the Governor’s efforts to set up a commission to look at the real pension funding problems and we look forward to a serious discussion of the issues. The governor should be commended for committing  to solutions that are constitutional, meaningful and fair. We have made it clear to every legislative leader that we are ready to negotiate a fair solution that will constitutionally preserve retirement security for teachers and public employees.

Any solution must be thorough and provide long term sustainability for our pension systems. It would be premature to comment on concepts without having the ability to analyze specific details.  

We also support the Governor’s proposal to raise the school dropout age to 18. We believe students should be encouraged in every way possible to earn their High School diploma. We also must recognize that teachers in the classroom need more support and resources to help these students reach their full potential. 

Investments in early childhood education, MAP grants and classroom technology are all good things. We can’t forget that school districts have laid off thousands of teachers and cut programs due to cuts in state funding. We will get nowhere in our effort to create more jobs and a better workforce in Illinois if we do not invest in education, from the earliest years to adult learners as well.

Our lawmakers need to continue to look for ways to secure revenue to help our struggling schools, vital state services, colleges and universities. Whether it’s in the classroom or on the front lines of public service, IFT members are providing valuable services to the people of Illinois every day. This important work changes lives and creates a brighter future for us all.

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 The Illinois Federation of Teachers represents 103,000 teachers and paraprofessionals in PreK-12 school districts throughout Illinois, faculty and staff at Illinois’ community colleges and universities, public employees under every statewide elected constitutional officer, and retirees.

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