Education superintendent lauds new budget

April 12, 2000
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Springfield – Although the appropriations process is not final, Governor Ryan and legislative leaders have crafted an elementary and secondary education budget that includes $330 million in new funding.

“We are grateful to Governor Ryan and the General Assembly for their continued support of our efforts to make Illinois education Second to None,” said State Superintendent of Education Glenn W. McGee.

“I believe that together, the Governor, the legislature, the State Board and local school districts are making significant progress toward our mutual goal of giving every student the tools needed to succeed in the 21st century,” McGee said.

The $330 million comprises about 53 percent of the state’s financial growth for Fiscal Year 2001. The new money represents the third year Governor Ryan has fulfilled his pledge to make education one of his top funding priorities.

The new education funding package also funds General State Aid and teacher retirement at the levels required by state law.  The budget also fully funds categorical items like special education and transportation for the second consecutive year. Support for these three areas comprises about $220 million of the $330 million in new money.

All of the State Board of Education’s top priorities, including early childhood education, the Illinois Learning Standards, teacher professional development, reading and math initiatives (including a new line item specifically for the ISBE’s math initiative) and help for schools in academic difficulty have received increases.

“I am very excited that the Governor and legislature have supported the State Board’s strategic priorities,” McGee said.  “With this funding increase, we should see continued improvement in student achievement.  We are working hard to help our schools be the very best they can be.   That is our responsibility, and that will remain our focus,” McGee said.