education

IBHE

During the recent state budget impasse, Illinois colleges and universities have been forced to scrape by without state funding, except for stop gap money designed to keep them open through the fall semester. But that may not satisfy accreditation agencies. James Applegate, director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, says the Higher Learning Commission may just home in on the fact that Illinois schools are missing what schools in other states have: a solid budget.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

The Northern Illinois University Anthropology and Theatre & Dance departments will be without a designated academic building for at least one more year.

The renovated NIU Stevens Building was supposed to be finished by this fall, but the state budget impasse delayed the project.

NIU spokesman Joe King says that, if the school gets funding by next month, the “best case scenario” would be that the construction will be done by fall 2017. But he says the longer it takes to pass a state budget, the longer those students don’t get those “first-rate facilities.”

The Streator Elementary District board is considering applying with the state for a waiver to pursue the shortened week.

Officials say it could result in more than $300,000 in savings.

The district faces declining enrollment and financial difficulties.

In fact, the district faces state intervention if it doesn’t resolve its budget issues.

Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois Secretary of Education Beth Purvis is pushing Governor Bruce Rauner’s plan to make sure schools open on time this fall.

The Republican has called for sending an extra 100 million dollars to schools — the one area of the budget he has not held up in order to pass his legislative agenda.

In a conference call with reporters today, Purvis deflected questions about Rauner’s remarks this week, in which he described some Chicago Public Schools as “crumbling prisons.”

As the deadline for a state budget draws near, public school systems are watching closely.  

School administrators are concerned about changes to the state funding formula, which determines how money is distributed among the state’s many districts.  In the legislature, the debate has been over how money could be shifted to provide more equal levels of funding.  However, two superintendents in Northern Illinois think there’s more to the issue.  Retired Riverdale Elementary School Superintendent Sarah Willy says it’s impossible to evaluate the formula without full funding. 

Pages