As legislators debated in Springfield, educators from around the state gathered at a historic Illinois landmark to demand that their leaders put children first.

At the Old State Capitol in Vandalia, Illinois – a place where Abraham Lincoln once served as a state legislator – representatives from more than 30 Illinois districts united around the need for an equitable K-12 education budget. These were school superintendents, including CPS CEO Forrest Claypool, along with parents and education advocates from all over Illinois.

Stories shared at the rally were familiar to CPS. They were tales of reduced funding over the past five years, and a system that punishes students for living in poverty. Stories of lost teachers, electives, and after-school activities, and the fear that without an equitable K-12 budget, schools may not open their doors this fall.

Supporters came to Vandalia from Taylorville, Pana, Harrisburg, and dozens of other Illinois communities, proving that the problem of education funding extends far beyond Chicago Public Schools. CEO Claypool, who grew up near Vandalia, praised those gathered for calling on our elected officials to invest in Illinois’ future. He chastised Governor Rauner for dividing the state along racial and demographic lines, and stressed that every child, regardless of where they live, should have access to a quality education.

Calling the state’s budget impasse a civil rights issue, those gathered in Vandalia had a single goal – to convince legislators and the Governor that education is about children and cooperation, not partisan politics, and that the students of Illinois deserve a fair funding system for their schools.

To join this fight for equal funding, visit cps.edu/equality.