state budget

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

DeKalb-area education leaders, students, and service providers held a rally Thursday at Northern Illinois University to send a

   message to state lawmakers: end the budget impasse.

There were no organized chants, no waving signs -- but there IS a social media hashtag: #RallyForIL

Students from NIU and Kishwaukee College were among the community members who spoke up about how the lack of a state budget hurts them, especially the hold on MAP grants, which help pay for their schooling.

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

A Chicago-based research group says cleaning up Illinois' budget mess will require difficult decisions such as raising the income tax, slashing spending and imposing taxes on food, services and some retirement income.

In an analysis released Thursday, the Civic Federation's Institute for Illinois' Fiscal Sustainability says the state budget stalemate has only exacerbated Illinois' enormous financial problems.

Civic Federation President Laurence Msall says “there are no more politically popular solutions left.''

Susan Koch, Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Springfield, says her campus is managing to weather the budget impasse, thanks to the school’s push to recruit more students.

Koch says that decision,made five years ago, is paying off now with record-high enrollment.

In a brief speech to the faculty senate last week, Koch tried to reassure employees, telling them the university is doing okay, despite eight months without aid.

Community College Students Hurting In Budget Battle

Jan 25, 2016

Illinois community colleges students are caught up in a political battle between the Republican governor and Democratic legislators.

The head of the Chicago Public Schools says the district will lay off some of its central office staff today.

District CEO Forrest Claypool's statement came a day after top Illinois Republicans called for a state takeover of the financially troubled school district.

The district has a nearly $1 billion budget deficit that could lead to thousands of teacher layoffs and a strike.

Claypool did not say how many people, including administrative staff, would be laid off, but teachers are not expected to be among them.

The state budget impasse has largely spared public schools, thanks to Governor Bruce Rauner’s decision to fund them for the entire year. But some school districts are still hurting.

Illinois school funding relies heavily on property taxes.

That means districts with thriving industries and expensive homes spend as much as $30,000 per student every year, while districts with few businesses and modest homes get by on as little as $7,000 per student.

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

Five Illinois schools will receive more than $20 million in federal grants over the next five years to help improve student performance and ensure students are better prepared for college.

State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith announced the School Improvement Grant winners yesterday.

They are: Matheny Elementary in Springfield, Sandoval High School in Sandoval, Gage Park High School in Chicago, Gordon Bush Elementary in East St. Louis and Kennedy Middle School in Rockford.

Chicago State University won’t have funds to operate by March 1 if  state money is not released, officials there have said.

Rep. Andre Thapedi, a Chicago Democrat,  has sponsored legislation to have $25 million from the state go to predominantly minority public colleges. That would effect Chicago State University and several community colleges. Those colleges have minority enrollment of at least 75 percent.

Thapedi  said he sponsored the legislation because schools with large minority populations are dealing with the most vulnerable students.

Chicago State University says that in March it will run out of money to make payroll as it waits for long overdue state funding.

The money for Chicago State and the eight other public universities is being held up by the dispute between Governor Bruce Rauner and Democrats in the General Assembly over the state budget deficit.

Most schools have money to fall back on.

Chicago State spokesman Tom Wogan says the predominantly black school on the city's South Side will have less than it needs to meet its $5 million monthly payroll if the budget stalemate continues.

New Legislation For State To Pay Up On Utility Bills

Jan 15, 2016
State of Illinois

State Senator Andy Manar has filed legislation that would allow Illinois to catch up on payments to the city of Springfield's utility.

The budget impasse has left the state with a mountain of debt.  

Manar represents a portion of Springfield. He says the state needs to take responsibility for its bills.  

"We owe them. We should pay them as a state government. The tax payers of Springfield shouldn't bear the burden of paying the state's bills for electricity,” Manar said.