Saturday, Sep 20, 2014
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Illinois schools seeking $1 billion more from state

7 months, 3 weeks ago From Herald-Review.com

From From Herald-Review.com:

At a time when the state may be facing a $2.2 billion loss of revenue, state school officials are poised to ask lawmakers and Gov. Pat Quinn for a more than $1 billion increase in funding next fiscal year.

Staff at the Illinois State Board of Education will ask board members Thursday to sign off on a proposed spending plan that is 16 percent higher than what the agency is receiving this year.

Tops among the requests is for the state to fully fund general state aid to local schools to reverse three years of declining state assistance.

The request for more money, however, comes as the state's temporary income tax increase will expire next January. Estimates show the end of the increase will result in a $2.2 billion loss of revenue, beginning in the second half of the fiscal year.

Education officials say schools continue to see their costs rise at the same time property tax values and federal assistance are falling.

"We know it is going to be a tough budget year. Districts have been really struggling for a few years, but it is our job to advocate for more funding," board spokeswoman Mary Fergus said.

In his budget outline to the board, state schools Superintendent Christopher Koch said even though his proposal calls for a more than $1 billion increase over the current fiscal year, the recommendation is still nearly 2 percent less than what schools received in fiscal year 2009 when adjusted for inflation.

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