After a year without a budget, the General Assembly reached a bi-partisan K-12 full year education budget within a short-term budget agreement that ensures Illinois schools are fully funded, open on time in the fall, and protects taxpayers throughout the state. State Senator Chuck Weaver (R-Peoria) said the stopgap measure is an affordable and responsible plan that will address the state’s most critical needs until a long-term budget agreement is negotiated.
“Finally, we had the opportunity to vote on a budget package where education is funded at 100 percent foundation level for the first time in seven years, all schools are treated equally—with no special deals directed to Chicago Public Schools—and all districts are held harmless,” said Senator Weaver. “By no means does the work stop here, but this does come as a hopeful sign for Illinois. Children are no longer left to worry about what they are doing this fall.”
Additionally, the legislation includes a $75 million increase for early childhood education and the vast majority of school districts will receive more than they did the year before while not bailing out Chicago Public Schools. Plus, this provides equity funding of $250 million to educate kids in poverty across the state.
The stopgap measure ensures universities open on time, funds MAP grants for low-income students, and ensures funding for community colleges. It also funds six months of human services and critical government services, and allows for a full year of transportation projects to remain active, which is expected to save 25,000 workers from being out of a job.
“It hasn’t been an easy process getting here and we have a long way to go, but I am glad we have reached a compromise for the short term as we work to figure out a long-term comprehensive solution,” said Weaver.