[Subscriber protection removed and comments opened because the press release was just made public.]
* 1:59 pm - Gov. Bruce Rauner will sign an appropriations bill today which funds elementary and secondary education, sources say.
That means schools would be guaranteed to receive their first state aid payment this August and would open on time this fall (except Chicago, of course, but that’s a different story.)
*** UPDATE 1 *** The press release, which hasn’t yet been sent out…
Governor Bruce Rauner signed House Bill 3763 today making appropriations for General State Aid, Early Childhood Education, Bi-lingual Education and the Teachers’ Retirement System.
Governor Rauner has always made clear that improving education is his highest priority. While the legislature’s bill does not increase education spending by as much as the governor’s proposal, it does increase K-12 education spending by $244 million and early childhood education funding by $25 million.
“Education is the most important thing we do as a community. I would have done more for our schoolchildren, but I am taking action today to ensure our teachers are paid and our schools are open and funded,” Governor Rauner said. “I refuse to allow Speaker Madigan and the legislators he controls to hold our schools hostage as part of their plan to protect the political class and force a tax hike on the middle class without real reform.”
As part of his budget plan, the governor proposed increasing K-12 education by $312 million and early childhood by $32 million.
Bill No.: HB 3763
An Act Concerning: Appropriations
Effective: July 1, 2015
*** UPDATE 2 *** From the Illinois Association of School Administrators…
“We are relieved that school districts can now plan for the new school year knowing that the state budget for education is in place. While we believe General State Aid should be fully funded for schools, going from 89 percent funding to 92 percent in this budget represents some progress. The downturn in the economy and the cuts to state funding the past few years have left many school districts across the state struggling, so we are encouraged that this budget includes $85 million that is supposed to go to the neediest districts as well as increases for Special Education and Early Childhood Education. Educating our children is the single best long-term investment the state can make and we are pleased that the governor and the General Assembly have made it a priority in the middle of these tough budget negotiations.”
* Stand for Children Illinois…
Today, Stand for Children Illinois – a statewide education advocacy organization dedicated to ensuring every Illinois student has access to a high-quality public education – praised Governor Bruce Rauner and the leaders of the Illinois House and Senate for enacting HB3763, the state education budget. While the state is still falling short of fully funding our schools, this budget is still an improvement, funding general state aid to school districts at 92 percent as compared with the 87 percent this past year. It also sets aside $85 million to recoup the losses from our neediest districts.
“We commend Governor Rauner and the General Assembly for adhering to their commitment to prioritize public education in the latest budget,” said Mimi Rodman, Executive Director of Stand for Children Illinois. “In the midst of our state’s fiscal crisis and competing spending priorities, this budget demonstrates that progress remains possible when both sides work together. While we have not yet achieved the goal of full and equitable public school funding, the governor and General Assembly have eased some of the burden on our local school districts, particularly in our most underserved communities. We hope this healthy collaboration will continue as all Illinoisans work together to ensure every child has access to a great public education that prepares them for the future.”
* Advance Illinois…
Statement of Advance Illinois Executive Director Robin Steans on the Signing of the Education Budget
Today, Illinois took a first step to ending the way schools are funded through the regressive general state aid formula. While Public Act 99-5 will still prorate education funds, it raises the level of proration to 92% and supplements the budgets of our neediest districts with an additional $85 million. For years now, these districts have suffered disproportionately under proration and these additional funds help to mitigate the impact on our state’s most vulnerable students.
“We applaud the Governor for taking action and signing the education budget to allow districts time to plan. While we still have a long way to go to get to fair and full funding, this is an important first step. We have a very real problem and an intent to address it,” said Advance Illinois Executive Director Robin Steans.