Education Desk: No Budget For Schools

Jun 1, 2016

The Illinois legislature adjourned last night with no budget for education -- at any level.


Although Illinois has been without a budget for almost a year, Governor Bruce Rauner singled out elementary and secondary schools to receive their due. That’s for the current fiscal year.


But as of last night, schools are headed into the new year with no state funding.


It wasn't for a lack of trying. In the past few weeks, lawmakers have filed half a dozen different plans to fund elementary and secondary education. Most included the state taking on Chicago Public Schools’ pension payments – as it already does for every other district.


Each plan also used a new “equity formula” to funnel more dollars to districts with lots of low-income students.


Consequently, every plan was derided as a "Chicago bailout."


Rep. Will Davis, a Democrat from Homewood, reminded his colleagues of what was at stake.


"If we don't pass something, I think in a lot of our districts we have schools that are not going to open, or if they do open without any money behind it, they may only last a few months," he said.


That measure – which would greatly increased how much the state spends on schools -- was soundly defeated.


Funding for higher education fared even worse; universities were barely mentioned.


Bi-partisan working groups continue to meet in hopes of agreeing on a budget.​