Thursday, January 31, 2019

ISBE recommends full funding for all schools and universal pre-K education

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) finalized its education budget recommendation on January 16, calling for full funding for all schools for fiscal year 2020. Officials said the state agency’s total budget recommendation of $19.3 billion represents a focus on equity and reflects 425 requests from communities around the state, gathered over a month of public hearings, as well as evidence showing what children need for long-term social and economic success.

The FY 2020 budget proposal includes $15.616 billion in General Fund appropriations, or $7.232 billion more than FY 2019 appropriations. It also includes $3.619 billion in federal funding, and nearly $80 million in various other state funds.

ISBE said all but two counties in Illinois have at least one school district funded at a level below 90 percent of adequacy. Agency staff said the recommended budget would ensure every student receives the access and opportunity for education they deserve, and every community benefits from thriving public schools.

State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith said school funding choices “must reflect a vision for the state as a place where all people can achieve social and economic security.” He said the total budget recommendation proposes full funding of the Evidence-Based Funding requirements adopted in August 2017 in Public Act 100-0465. It would require $11.765 billion to close the state funding gap in FY 2020.

Smith added that meeting the state's commitment to full funding by June 2027 requires an annual increase of approximately $660 million for the next eight fiscal years based on FY 2019 Evidence-Based Funding calculations.

The budget endorsed by ISBE also provides funding for Universal Access to High-Quality Preschool, allocating $2.4 billion for the Early Childhood Block Grant.

ISBE said 315,409 children ages 3 to 5 statewide are not served by an early childhood education program funded by the state in FY 2019, a concern because research shows early childhood education significantly impacts students' social and economic outcomes. Thus the agency recommendation provides for all students to have access to prekindergarten programs, and the budget also funds the Prevention Initiative Program to serve children from birth to age 3.

ISBE will submit its complete budget book to Governor Pritzker and the General Assembly in February.

The budget recommendation and a comparison to FY 2019 appropriations are online here.