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State of Illinois - Governor Blagojevich 

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For immediate release
February 3, 2004

State Superintendent presents budget that keeps the lights on for schools

(SPRINGFIELD) – Downstate schools could see more than $210 million and the Chicago metropolitan area could net more than $400 million in additional state funding under the Illinois State Board of Education’s budget recommendation for the next school year.

State Superintendent of Schools Robert Schiller Tuesday walked members of the House Appropriations-Elementary and Secondary Education Committee through the ISBE proposed Fiscal Year 2005 education budget, stressing that the budget is aimed at “keeping the doors open and the lights on” at Illinois’ nearly 4,000 schools.

“Month after month as we crafted this proposal we heard from members of the education community that the state should concentrate funding on the areas where districts can get the best bang for their buck,” Schiller said. “Increased funding of General State Aid and the mandated categoricals will allow elected local school boards with the resources and flexibility to control and address their individual needs.”

Schiller illustrated to members just how far and wide a $616 million general funds increase can be spread over Illinois’ 102 counties. ISBE ran projected estimates of how each school district would fare under the proposed budget, based on their current Equalized Assessed Value and other factors that affect the funding formulas.

If effective today, the budget proposal would have the following impact:

  • $169.9 million more for Chicago schools

  • $74.3 million more for the districts outside of Chicago but within Cook County

  • $158.1 million in additional funds to the districts inside the Collar Counties

  • $210.8 million to downstate districts

ISBE forecasts that out of the 888 school districts statewide there are 13 school districts that may not see estimated increases of GSA funding under the proposal as a result of a large growth in their local EAV or a large decrease in their average daily attendance (ADA).

Of the $609 million in additional funds recommended over FY 04, $576.6 million alone will support adequate basic education and full funding of programs that the state requires districts provide. The additional funds will provide a $250 per pupil increase of general state aid, which equals $396.5 million; restores the School Safety and Educational Improvement (ADA) Block Grant to its FY03 level of $66.9 million, an increase of $24 million; an additional $139.1 million to fully fund the state Mandated Categorical grants including special education and transportation; a $13.3 million increase for the Bilingual program to increase the pro-ration from 64% to approximately 75%.

The proposal also includes restoration of $19 million for Gifted Education; $30 million for Early Childhood; $23.7 million for Bridges Extended Learning Opportunities (formerly known as Summer Bridges); $2.6 million for Reading, $6.2 million for System of Support, $3 million for Career and Technical Education, and $4.5 million for Truant and Alternative Learning Opportunities.

Schiller reminded House members that Moody's Investor Service recently indicated that the Illinois school district sector remains challenged with widespread structural imbalances, declining liquidity and expenditure growth that is outpacing revenue growth.

Schiller added that more than 99.99% of the $7.6 billion FY04 education appropriation goes directly to the state's locally controlled school districts. After continued reduction of personnel and operations, this proposal includes no increased administrative costs at the Illinois State Board of Education, he said.

Schiller also dispelled the “46-cents myth,” noting that the charge includes the costs related to paying a teacher and teacher’s aides and some related supplies, but excludes countless other expenses that support instruction.

“Essentially 46 cents buys a teacher, with an aide waving a book or two in thin air without a classroom or students,” Schiller said. “The truth is only six cents covers administration – not 54.”

An accurate account of school expenditures supporting classroom instruction is closer to 94 cents and includes, the 48 cents that pays for the teacher, teacher aide, some classroom supplies and tuition; 22 cents for the cost of the building and maintaining the four walls that make up the classroom; 3 cents to feed the children; 4 cents to bus them to school; 10 cents to support them with books and libraries to help them to read, counseling, psychological services, and other direct services that support and enhance instruction. The charge also excludes debt service and community services that together add up to a grand total of 94 cents.

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Illinois State Board of Education
100 North First Street
Springfield, IL 62777