* From a press release…
The Illinois State Board of Education today called on lawmakers and the Governor to invest in students and the state’s economic future by changing their budgeting focus to increase the state’s share of funding for education. In order for Illinois to remain competitive nationally and internationally, Board members contend the state needs to move toward making K-12 education account for one-third of the state budget. As part of their request, the Board is asking that lawmakers honor the General State Aid (GSA) Foundation Level commitment of $6,119 per student. School districts have not received the full share of GSA promised to them under state law for the past three years.
Historically, Illinois’ State General Funds budget has dedicated approximately 27 percent to K-12 education. However, in order to increase economic vitality for the future, the Board is calling for a shift to 33 percent of the total state budget. The increase being sought on behalf of Illinois students is $1.08 billion dollars. When adjusting the FY09 K-12 education budget for inflation, the Board’s request amounts to a 1.5 percent decrease from the adjusted FY09 levels. Based on FY14 funding levels, the Board’s request would account for about 31 percent of the State General Funds budget.
“There is no doubt this is a lot of money, and some may scoff at our request, but we cannot shortchange our students, because we’re only hurting our state’s future,” said State Board of Education Chairman Gery J. Chico.
That works out to a billion dollars.
The bulk of the $1 billion increase, $879 million, is tied to the board’s push to fully fund the base level of funding for the state’s two million public school students.
Other proposed increases outlined in the plan include:
• $27.1 million for districts to administer a new test test called Partnership for the Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, which is similar to the ACT.
• $25 million for early childhood education programs designed to boost the number of students served in preschool programs by more than 5,500.
• $2 million to provide assistance to low-income students taking Advance Placement exams.
* But that’s not all the board wants. Back to the press release…
In addition to the General Funds request, the Board’s recommendation includes a $450 million capital request to support districts as they improve their technology infrastructure. This funding will be targeted toward improving the connectivity of buildings to broadband internet service as well as improving the network capabilities with the classroom. This request does not include funding for individual devices.
State revenues are projected to drop about $1.2 billion next fiscal year.