CHICAGO – With one week to go left in the spring legislative session, Governor Pat Quinn Saturday continued to push for a responsible budget that properly funds schools and avoids devastating cuts to the classroom. The Governor noted if the Illinois General Assembly fails to pass a budget that provides adequate revenue for schools, education at all levels could face $1.1 billion in cuts – including elementary, secondary and higher education – which would result in up to 15,000 teachers being laid off across the state. The Governor will discuss the importance of properly funding education Saturday at a high school academy in Rantoul and later at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, while urging lawmakers to pass a balanced budget that avoids cuts to schools.
“Every child in Illinois deserves access to a great education,” Governor Quinn said. “That’s why it’s so important that we pass a responsible budget that properly funds our schools. As we enter the last week of the spring session, I urge legislators to pass a balanced budget that properly invests in education so we can build a brighter future for all our students.”
Quinn’s office says about half of Illinois’ discretionary budget goes to education. If the state’s personal income tax rates drop as is currently scheduled, local school districts will suffer $875 million in cuts. This will cause massive teacher layoffs, significant class size expansions, program eliminations and will lead to higher property taxes. A district by district impact may be viewed at this link: http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/budget/Documents/Property_Tax%20Impact_FY15_Not_Recommended.pdf.
Quinn office also stated higher education will suffer a similar fate without the continued revenue of the current income tax rate. The $304 million reduction to state universities includes the following cuts: Chicago State University, $4.6 million; Eastern Illinois University, $5.5 million; Governors State University, $3.1 million; Illinois State University, $9.2 million; Northeastern Illinois University, $4.7 million; Northern Illinois University, $11.6 million; Western Illinois University, $6.5 million; Southern Illinois University, $25.3 million; University of Illinois, $82.6 million; and Illinois Math and Science Academy, $2.3 million.
Quinn’s office this weekend announced these reductions would cause layoffs, class and program eliminations and significantly higher tuition rates. In addition, 30,000 fewer students would receive Monetary Award Program (MAP) grants to attend college. Officials say this state grant program is often the only way that thousands of students in need are able to attend college.