state funding

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Illinois could soon begin to tackle its massive pile of unpaid bills, thanks to a move Thursday by Governor Bruce Rauner.

Rauner is moving ahead with a bond issue — borrowing about $6 billion dollars — to pay off various state vendors immediately. The move should save Illinois hundreds of millions of dollars a year in late penalties.

Rauner says he’s going to look for other ways to cut spending in order to pay off the bonds. Democrats, like Rep. Greg Harris from Chicago, say they worry Rauner will target human service providers like he did during the budget stalemate.

In a sign the stalemate in Springfield is as strong as ever, Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill that once  had been held up as proof he and Democratic leaders were capable of working together.

The action leaves politicians divided, and it could leave the financially-ailing Chicago Public Schools short some $215 million.

Republicans got on board with sending CPS extra money, but Rauner said he'd only sign it into law if legislators passed another, even bigger bill by the New Year to reduce the state's pension costs.

Community colleges in Illinois say they've cut frills, suspended travel, and even laid off teachers. Now, they need state lawmakers to come through with funding.

That was the gist of a letter sent last week from the Illinois Council of Community College Presidents​ to the governor and legislative leaders.

So far, they say they’ve gotten zero response. Tom Ramage, president of both the council and Parkland College, says there’s little left to cut.

Illinois' community colleges have been struggling to make ends meet without a state budget for nearly a year. For some, the cutbacks they've had to make could mean the loss of federal dollars, too.


Community colleges use a combination of federal and state funds to provide adult education classes that help people pass the GED.

Normally, the state provides 32 million dollars, and the federal government kicks in about 23 million dollars — but that’s based on the state’s ability to prove its programs work. 

Many Illinois community colleges and universities will not cover low-income tuition waivers in the fall, unless they get state money.


That's the message from higher education leaders to the state's 125,000 students who are eligible for the monetary assistance program, or MAP, grants.

Public colleges and universities that have so far covered the cost for MAP students are sounding the alarm that they may not continue.