This week, Chicago hosted the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) annual conference, so I had the privilege of meeting fellow school board members from all over our state, and providing welcoming remarks to kick off the annual Chicago Schools Tour that was presented in conjunction with the conference. The tour included four schools with an arts focus, and showed our visitors how CPS is prioritizing arts education, even in challenging fiscal times.

Some of the School Board members I met were from small, rural communities in Illinois, while others hailed from larger cities, but they were all equally passionate about bringing the best possible education to the children in their districts. We spoke about a lot of things together, including what we all have in common, which is the need for improved education funding from our state.

I talked about how last year, CPS launched a grass-roots campaign that culminated in a day of action in Springfield. More than 2,000 superintendents, parents and educators representing a dozen school districts around Illinois gathered in the state capitol to urge our lawmakers to fix Illinois’ education funding system. This campaign for fair funding wasn’t just about Chicago, it was about the schools and the students that we all represent, no matter what part of Illinois we call home.

In my remarks, I spoke about the need to reform our state’s broken funding formula, and said that I hoped we would all work together in the coming months to help create a system that treats every child fairly and provides all Illinois students with the resources they deserve.

I thank these school board members for making our district a part of their conference experience, and look forward to working with all of them as we continue the fight for equitable education funding in the state of Illinois. 

By Jaime Guzman, Vice-President of the Chicago Board of Education