FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 9, 2003
Blagojevichs Budget Gives Lift
to Financially Strapped Schools
State Superintendent of Education Robert E. Schiller
issued the following statement in response to Governor Rod
R. Blagojevichs Budget Message:
Despite the unprecedented economic challenges of the State,
Governor Rod R. Blagojevichs budget plan increases funding
for elementary and secondary education and targets more state
resources to financially strapped school districts. The Governor
obviously recognizes the depth of the financial stress faced
by local school districts and his budget places a high priority
on easing their budget difficulties.
Increasing the Foundation Level in the General State Aid
formula by $250 per student will direct state funding to the
districts that need it mostthose that are able to spend
the least on each students education. We have districts
that spend more than $15,000 per student and many that spend
less than $5,000. Raising the lowest-spending districts by
increasing the Foundation Level will bring more equity into
our school funding system and help to assure that every child
has access to an adequately funded education program.
For the last two years, a highly regarded national studyQuality
Counts, conducted by Education Weekgave Illinois
a letter grade of F in equity of funding for schools.
Governor Blagojevich has shown that he will work for a higher
The Governors proposed budget includes a number of
additional recommendations that will help local school districts
carry out their responsibilities. Among them are:
an increase in spending for Early Childhood programs
($29.9 million) and bilingual education ($2.2 million)
programs, as recommended in ISBEs budget proposal.
an increase in spending for mandated categorical programs
of $88 million, which will allow the MCATS payments to
be pro-rated at about 91 per cent the same as the
a supplemental appropriation of $21.8 million to meet
the FY03 General State Aid payments.
consolidation from nine to four of the funds that make
up local school district budgets, as recommended by EFAB
and ISBE. This will provide greater flexibility at the
making permanent the policy of advancing to June the
23rd and 24th annual state aid payment to districts. This
will ensure the annual cash flow to districts.
The State Board continues to analyze the overall impact of
the Governors proposed budget. Clearly, this budget
will be carefully scrutinized in the coming weeks, and we
look forward to being an active participant in that process.
an Adobe Acrobat PDF file comparing the Governor's proposal,
the State Board of Education's proposed budget, and
previous years funding levels.