State education leaders urge Illinoisans to weigh in on their priorities for education as the state develops the 2016 K-12 budget.
The State Board of Education will hold public hearings to gather opinions and ideas about resources and funding. This year the hearings will also offer attendees an opportunity to give feedback on Senate Bill 16, which would distribute state dollars more equitably among public school districts.
Illinois will have a budget in place when the state's new fiscal year begins Tuesday. The governor signed it into law Monday. He left much of the plan approved by Democratic legislators intact, with a couple of exceptions meant to play well with voters.
Democrats wanted to use the higher income tax rate to prop up the state budget. Instead, they turned to "interfund borrowing" which involves taking funds from hundreds of small pools of money earmarked for specific purposes.
Senator Dale Righter (R-Mattoon) doesn't support the idea.
"I'm concerned about how you're raising the money for those funds and whether or not you're spending the money from those funds the way you told the taxpayers or the contributors to that fund that you would spend it."
The $33.7 billion dollar budget is $57 million dollars less than the budget lawmakers sent him. As promised, the governor is moving to close several state facilities, including Rockford's Singer Mental Health Center.