This Wednesday, hundreds of Illinoisans will visit the state Capitol to push for bipartisan action to change the school funding formula, so that more money goes to districts with greater financial need. The time is long overdue to stop shortchanging our state’s neediest students, and no one knows this better than state Rep. Sue Scherer. Sue taught in Macon County for more than 30 years, and had to either purchase classroom supplies with her own money or make do without items that teachers in wealthy district take for granted. She cares deeply about fair funding and has been speaking out about this issue longer than any other state representative I know of.

But Sue also cares about students beyond K-12, which matters to me as someone who attended Richland Community College and now attends the University of Illinois-Springfield. She knows the value of a MAP Grant because she got one herself. Last year, Sue co-sponsored Senate Bill 2043, which included $373 million for MAP funding. Amid the budget impasse, she voted to restore funding to higher education, including community colleges and public universities in our state, and to fund MAP at an 8.8 percent increase. Most recently, Sue voted for a lifeline budget to provide $559 million to higher education, to keep our state’s institutions operating.

Sue knows firsthand how important it is to support Illinois’ students, and remains a true advocate for education, even though her days in the classroom are over. 

Donnie Lewis, Decatur

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