Illinois Education Recovering After Years of Financial Uncertainty

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Springfield, July 10, 2019 – Over the last ten years there was no Capital bill to fund repairs or replacement buildings. Over that same time, the Illinois budget for education was always in doubt. Under Gov Quinn, the “foundation level” of funding was under-funded.

Under Gov Rauner, education was one of the few items that WAS funded in years when the budget was not approved, but yet MILLIONS of dollars in compensation for school bus services, special needs, and other categorical grants went unpaid. The result of underpayments on school funding, no payments for operating cost on services like school bus transportation, and no capital bill, for 10 years, created a climate of operating Illinois schools in survival mode.

Now in the wake of the Pritzker administration passing its first budget, of a Capital bill spending a record $45 billion over six years – most of that for transportation projects – we visit with Dr Thomas Bertrand, the Executive Director of the Illinois Association of School Boards. to hear how the passage of a record $40 Billion state budget, that includes an additional $375 million over last year, is now affecting the education climate among those who run our schools.

But the legislature also passed more mandates on schools, including the minimum teacher salary of $40,000, and schools will also be impacted significantly by the $15/hour minimum wage that takes effect in 2025. These two mandates alone, could eat into a lot of the additional school funding in the budget, according to Dr Bertrand.

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