Back when this state was fairly well-run – meaning, before Illinois voters elected three anti-Springfield “populist” governors in a row – the general rule of thumb was that for every two dollars appropriated to K-12 education, higher education received one dollar.
The split wasn’t based on any sort of scientific study, as far as I know. It was just the tradition, but the tradition seemed to work pretty well. Even in lean years, everybody got something, and our state’s higher education institutions appeared to thrive.
But that all started to change with Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who believed, with some evidence, that universities were more interested in building fiefdoms than educating kids.
The spigot began to dry up. Add in two worldwide recessions, which hit Illinois particularly hard