Slightly more than 50 percent of Peoria School District 150 teachers held master's degrees in 2011, according to the latest school report card. At Dunlap Community Unit School District 323, the figure was 48.5 percent.
The two districts may have different demographics - Peoria, a struggling urban district next to Dunlap, the high-achieving suburban district - but the percentage of teachers in both districts is lower than the statewide average of 60 percent.
To John Erwin, president of Illinois Central College, that's one of many examples that show why Peoria needs a four-year public university.
"How could the state have overlooked us?" asks the community college president. "That's amazing to me. In a metropolitan area of 375,000, we don't have a state university, yet Macomb has a state university? That's a huge oversight."