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Report: Illinois teachers union funds are disproportionately spent

A new report shows teacher union funds are primarily going to schools located closer to Chicago and the Chicago suburbs than to downstate Illinois.

The report was produced by the Illinois Policy Institute and looked into how the Illinois Federation of Teachers has been spending union dues from teachers across the state.

“Illinois teachers spend hundreds of dollars a year in union dues, but most of that money doesn’t stay with their local bargaining units,” the report by Illinois Policy’s Mailee Smith opens. “Instead, their money flows up the chain to the state and national affiliates, such as the Illinois Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Teachers.”

The report shows a vast difference in funding between schools north and south of Interstate 80, Smith said.

“In the latest report, it shows that the IFT spent 190 times more on Chicago area teachers than it did on teachers located south of Interstate 80,” Smith said.

Smith said the funding numbers show no concern for the IFTs down-state teachers.

“The Chicago numbers compared to the downstate numbers last year demonstrates that the IFT is not considering the needs of its downstate members,” Smith said.

The report shows that IFT directed more than $4.1 million to its affiliates in 2021, but more than $3.4 million of that went to affiliates in Chicago and its suburbs.

Just $18,164 went to affiliates along or south of I-80, and that entire sum went to just one affiliate in the city of Quincy.

AFT’s federal report shows it spent over $241.7 million in 2021.

However, less than 31% of that was on representing workers in their union.

The Illinois Teachers Federation has seen a drop in its membership since 2017 by 18 percent.

This article originally appeared on The Center Square.

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