School Funding: Disparities across Illinois - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

School Funding: Disparities across Illinois

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Some of the youngsters attending Glenbrook South know it's a place apart from the vast majority of Illinois high schools. Taxpayers spend an average $21,841 on each student, one of the very highest in the state. About 96% comes from local property owners.

“I mean, just recently, we got our floor redone in the main gym. We got a new pool. And, like, all the technology. We have, like, access to tons of resources. It's really nice,” said student Nicholas Schurer.

“We just got a new turf last year for football and for lacrosse. And then also we have a new library, textbooks, chromebooks, computers, bunch of new technology. All a bunch of new resources, so, really good,” said junior Sammy Kouriabalis.

Eighty-two percent of the graduates are considered college ready at Glenbrook South and its District 225 sister high school, Glenbrook North. Despite the many lavish homes, with some of the biggest property tax bills in Illinois, 15% of students do come from low-income families.

In South Suburban Joliet's High School District 204, 64% of students are low-income. Only 26% of graduates are considered college ready. Average spending on each student here though is $14,306. That's $7,500 less than at Glenbrook.

Joliet Central High is still home of the "Steelmen." But the city's last steel plant announced its closing last year, joining U.S. Steel and a long list of other local factories now rusting away. When they were thriving, they paid tens of millions of dollars in taxes. All of Joliet's schools prospered. Now, even as tax bills on homeowners keep rising, the schools have been forced to cut dozens of jobs.

Some parents complain that Washington Junior High, for example, is not preparing their children for potential jobs as well as it did when they attended.

“When I went here, we had wood shop. We had economics, home things, metal shop, and things of that nature. But, right now, we don't have that anymore,” said Willis.

We learned Washington School does have laptop computers for students. The principal declined to talk to FOX 32 though. High School District 204's retired business manager told us Joliet's public schools still offer a good education. He wishes they had more resources.

“I think there are many programs right now that the district would like to offer to the students that they can't,” said retired Richard Pagliaro of the Joliet High School District 204.

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