Chicago – The Illinois State Board of Education today discussed the initial framework for its Fiscal Year 2002 budget which would support Illinois’ five most pressing education needs and raise the general state aid foundation level in conjunction with the Education Funding Advisory Board.
State Superintendent of Education Glenn W. McGee and State Board staff will refine and finalize the fiscal plan based on Board members’ input. McGee’s final recommendations will also take into account input from the 28 Schoolhouse Meetings held statewide this fall and summer, and recommendations from the Education Funding Advisory Board.
The State Board may also hold public hearings on the proposed budget framework, which includes about $5.4 billion in general funds, up about 6 percent over fiscal year 2001’s $5.13 billion budget.
The Board will hold public hearings on the proposed budget framework from 10 a.m. to noon on December 7 in the Board’s Springfield office, 100 N. First St., 4th-floor, Superintendent’s Conference Room; and December 8 at the James R. Thompson Center, 14th floor, Conference Room A. The public can comment on the proposed budget framework at www.budgets.isbe.net.
McGee will present a final budget recommendation at the Board’s regular meeting on December 13-14. Once finalized the budget will be sent to the governor and the legislature for their consideration.
The framework includes funding for several required line items, including teacher retirement increasing between $80 million and $90 million. It would also fully fund mandated categorical expenses for the third consecutive year, for special education and transportation (increasing between $45 million and $65 million. In each of the last three years, by state law the general state aid foundation level increased by $100 per student. This year, that amount is $4,425 per student. A similar jump next fiscal year would increase funding for general state aid and hold harmless by about $80 million.
“This budget will continue and strengthen the work we have done, in partnership with local school districts, to give each of our children the world-class education they need and deserve,” McGee said.
McGee expects to request an anticipated $320 million in new revenues. That figure roughly represents the State Board’s expected share of the 51 percent of all new state revenues, which Governor Ryan pledged to designate for education funding. Gov. Ryan has met that promise in both of his first two budgets.
Of that amount, about $60 million to $70 million would be appropriated to forward a list of programs and initiatives addressing the State Board’s five top education priorities.
Currently, the proposed framework calls for $5 million to $10 million in new money for Standards/Assessment/Accountability. That includes $4 million for anticipated retakes of the Prairie State Achievement Exam (PSAE.)
The PSAE is being given this year to every junior statewide. Students will be able to retake the test one time at the state’s expense. Another $1 million would help pay for ongoing implementation of the Illinois Learning Standards.
Several key Quality Educators initiatives (up $5 million to $10 million) would also receive new money. Five million dollars is budgeted for the first year of a statewide induction and mentoring program for new teachers. Another $1 million is included to increase the number of National Board for Professional Teaching Standards-certified teachers; and $1.5 million more for the Teachers Academy of Math and Science.
Reading and Math initiatives (up $15 million to $25 million) would continue to receive strong support. If approved, the proposed outline would increase the state’s Reading Block Grant by $16.6 million to $100 million. That would allow the Block Grant to be available to programs serving students through 12th grade. Currently the money funds only kindergarten through 6th-grade reading initiatives.
Another $2 million would be added for various statewide reading programs and $2 million for statewide mathematics programs.
Current Early Learning/Birth to 8 programs would get another $5 million to $10 million. The increase represents a four percent “cost of living” adjustment.
Finally, several initiatives aimed at helping Schools in Academic Difficulty (up $20 million to $30 million) would also be in line for increased funding. The budget calls for an additional $11.3 million to develop and implement a new state academic accountability system ($15.65 million in all); another $10 million ($33 million in total) for the highly-successful Summer Bridges summer school program; $5 million more for the Alternative Learning/Regional Safe Schools Program; and another $500,000 ($1.5 million total) for Project Impact, a parental involvement campaign.