Approved on Tuesday, January 24, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has finalized the fiscal budget recommendations for 2018. These recommendations include details for grades pre-K through 12, with a total purposed budget of $7.727 billion, which is about a 3% increase from the previous year.
Officials are working “to meet the needs of students, families and school districts,” according to a press release from the ISBE. Board members have worked with members of the community, educators and students to create a plan that would establish a funding goal which will benefit future generations.
In addition, the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission has been working to make education a top priority for the state. They have created and released guidelines that strive to properly fund schools while also keeping the needs of individual students in mind. The commission, which was created to investigate the state’s funding systems, has been discussing issues involving underfunding in vulnerable, low-wealth districts and how to address Illinois’ current education funding as the worst in the country.
Although officials have created a budget guideline, education secretary Beth Purvis says “this report will only be as useful as what comes next.” As Illinois officials work to finalize the budget for education, the students are suffering. Reports show that the school districts with higher levels of low-income students receive 20% less funding than wealthy districts.
Governor Bruce Rauner spoke positively of the commission “for putting politics aside to advance a bipartisan framework that can serve as an immediate roadmap for legislation.”