education funding

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Illinois school districts in the East Saint Louis area are raising student fees and even considering a shorter school year as state education funding continues to be held up by the long-running Illinois budget crisis.

More than 400 Illinois school leaders statewide are calling on Gov. Bruce Rauner and the state legislature to pass a budget -- in addition to a lawsuit asking the state to give schools what they were promised.

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner spoke in Rockford to tout a new school funding framework. 

The governor paid a visit to the Barbour Two-Way Immersion School, which provides instruction in both English and Spanish. After touring several classrooms, Rauner said he would double down on funding schools more equally.

“We are going to change the way schools are funded in Illinois, improve it, get more resources overall, and especially more resources for lower-income schools that don’t have access to the same advantages as higher-income schools," he said.

Last summer, Governor Bruce Rauner asked 20 lawmakers and a handful of educators to change how Illinois funds public schools. That bipartisan commission produced a “framework,” but no actual legislation.

 

That is despite the group’s continual focus on a plan favored by Rauner.

 

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The state’s ongoing budget impasse has hit community colleges particularly hard, with funds to these schools and the students who attend them drastically reduced.

 

The Illinois Community College Board is distributing $3 million dollars in emergency aid, divided among seven campuses.

 

Despite a standstill over the Illinois budget, a group of bipartisan lawmakers has been meeting more often in recent weeks to devise a plan to overhaul state funding for public schools.

Although Illinois' top leaders aren't meeting to discuss the state budget, members of Gov. Bruce Rauner's education funding reform commission tell the Springfield Bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers they're optimistic that the group will be able to come up with at least outlines of a new school funding formula.

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