Sent: Wednesday, February 16, 2005 2:48 PM
Subject: Special Message from Interim State Superintendent Randy Dunn 2-16-05
Good afternoon.


As you know, Governor Blagojevich delivered his Budget Address this afternoon. In his address, he indicated that education remains a top priority for his administration.


Central to this is the Governor’s proposal to create a new School Endowment Fund to serve as a recurring revenue source to help fund Illinois schools. The Governor’s proposal to increase education funding by $140 million this year follows his investment over the last two years of more than $1 billion in new money for Illinois schools.


The Governor’s proposal for a School Endowment Fund would transfer excess fund balances from a variety of special funds across the State Treasury to the School Endowment Fund. Beginning in FY 2006 and in each of the following three years, one-third of the balance of the School Endowment Fund would then be transferred to the Common School Fund to support school funding. The FY 2006 budget projects that $420 million would be available for transfer to the School Endowment Fund during FY 2006, making $140 million available to the Common School Fund for new spending in FY 2006.


In addition to the increases in the education budget, the Governor has proposed new funding of $500 million in School Construction Grants and an additional $50 million in new capital funding for School Maintenance Grants in Illinois.


Tomorrow the State Board of Education will consider its recommendation for specific allocation of the Governor’s $140 million education funding increase among the Board’s priorities of General State Aid, Mandated Categorical Programs and Early Childhood Education.


I will communicate with you again as this process continues.