Illinois Democrats continued approving a new state budget on party-line votes. The Senate approved spending plans for education -- from elementary and high schools to colleges and universities -- with funding pretty much at last year's level.
Cuts proposed earlier this year by Governor Pat Quinn did not materialize, partly because Illinois collected more tax money than it expected in April.
Sen. Dan Kotowski, D-Park Ridge, says funding for higher education is critical because it's tied to the problem of unemployment.
Although they're facing budget cuts, universities and community colleges say they're willing to begin taking on employees' pension costs. The state covers the employers' share of retirement benefits for Illinois' public schools, colleges and universities.
Illinois' public colleges and universities are still trying to work with a new law that ties state funding to student performance. But it hasn't been easy to measure performance in a way that's equally valid across the state's dozen public university campuses. Illinois' program is specifically meant to reward schools that help low-income students, and those from the first generation in their family to go to college.
George Reid came to the Illinois Board of Higher Education in December 2010. He'd been a top official at a similar agency in Maryland. Less than two years later, Reid says he's resigning for personal reasons.