Friday, May 18, 2012
State School Chief Warns Of State Aid Cuts
Illinois’ school chief this week sounded the alarm on possible cuts to the amount of money the state will give local schools during the coming fiscal year. “We can’t shortchange our schools anymore,” said Gery Chico, Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education, noting that the state’s 868 school districts have seen a loss of $650 million during the past three years.
A House proposal would eliminate at least another $258 million as lawmakers try to address the state’s $5.5 billion backlog of bills. Chico said that could lead to cuts to school programs, staff and the length of the school day, or possible tax hikes. The House proposal is contingent upon how successful lawmakers are in achieving $2.7 billion in Medicaid cuts. That means the reduction in education spending could be higher — as much as $500 million or $750 million, state education officials project.
“We’re already having one of the most difficult financial conversations we’ve ever had," said Pete Sherman, spokesman for Springfield Public Schools in the capital city. "Anything on top of that would make it really, really difficult,” he said.
You can read Jayette's full report at: http://illinois.statehousenewsonline.com/8530/il-school-chief-warns-of-possible-cuts-to-general-state-aid-for-schools/