SPRINGFIELD – Illinois schools could soon see a record level of funding thanks to a compromise budget package that passed the Illinois Senate, according to State Senator Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington).
“This is a major win for our schools, children and taxpayers, finally ending the practice of proration, providing help to needy districts in all corners of our state, and ensuring that a generation of students aren’t put further at risk due to political theater,” said Sen. Barickman. “Plus, the stopgap budget will keep our state functioning throughout the rest of the calendar year.”
The school funding legislation will fully fund the current formula for the first time in seven years, with a hold harmless provision that guarantees no school will receive less money than they did in the previous year. In addition, a new $250 million equity grant will help the poorest schools in the state, and early childhood education (pre-k) will receive boost of $75 million. The plan includes no special bailout for Chicago schools.
“This is good news for taxpayers who will see their schools open on time without being on the hook for a Chicago bailout,” said Senator Barickman. “And this will give us time to reform the way we fund schools so that all Illinois students will have the best chance for success in our global economy.”
The stopgap budget package is designed to keep state services operating through the rest of the current year. Higher education will receive an additional $1 billion on top of the $600 million that had already been appropriated, including $151 million for MAP grants for low income students and $141 million for community colleges.
An additional $724 million will go to human service programs that help many of the state’s neediest residents. Other programs, including prisons, mental health facilities, veterans’ homes, and state parks, will receive funding to keep them open and operating until January.
It also contains full-year appropriations for all federal funds as well as full-year appropriations for all other state funds including capital projects, the state’s road program, LIHEAP, lottery prizes and local government distributions such as the motor fuel tax.
The total for transportation programs and construction is over $12 billion and is expected to support more than 800 projects and 25,000 jobs.
“This is a responsible solution that will keep our state operating through the rest of the year while we work on larger agreements to reform school funding, improve our business climate and match revenue with expenditures,” said Senator Barickman. “This is proof that both sides can work together and create momentum for the work of finding real long-term solutions.”