Thursday, February 16, 2017

Alliance Legislative Report 100-05

Governor Bruce Rauner proposed to increase public education spending to fully fund General State Aid (GSA) and to end proration of transportation reimbursements. The governor delivered his constitutionally required state Budget Address today in the Capitol before a joint session of the Illinois General Assembly.

The proposed increase in K-12 education funding for Fiscal Year 2018 would total $213 million over the FY 2017 budget. This includes an additional $30 million to again fully fund the GSA foundation level of $6,119 per pupil and $107 million to – for the first time in years – fully fund the Regular Transportation reimbursement in the mandated categorical (MCAT) grant payments.

The rest of the MCAT grants (for the various special education categories) would be funded at the same level as FY 2017.

Other proposed increases include $38 million more for English language learners and $50 million more for early childhood education programs. The governor also includes in his proposal $5 million to match the federal E-Rate program to access funds for the “technology superhighway” program. This investment in technology, specifically to help with broadband connectivity in places across the state that do not have such infrastructure, is a plank in the Illinois Vision 20/20 agenda being pushed by the Alliance this year.

In Illinois, the governor proposes a budget, but the General Assembly must approve legislation that appropriates the funds. The ball is now in the court of the legislature which is certain to dispute some of the governor’s budget numbers. There may be some agreement on the education portion of the budget, but given the mire that the state is in (without having had a complete budget in place for nearly two years) the discussion on a comprehensive budget for all of state government will continue.

Click here to read the entire Alliance Legislative Report 100-05, including additional budget details from the governor's address.