General Assembly Passes Budget Bills To Ensure Schools Open In the Fall

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Illinois House Passes Spending Plan_70564985-159532

School officials breathed a sigh of relief today, after the Illinois General Assembly passed two budget bills to fund state operations and ensure schools open on time this fall.

There was a long list of schools on the verge of closing in Illinois.

On the list were schools from Rockford and Freeport.

But Thursday the Illinois General Assembly passed a stopgap budget deal that would ensure they stay open this fall.

“It’s a great relief,” said Dr. Mike Schiffman, the Superintendent of the Freeport School District. “Again, we put contingency plans in place, but we’re glad not to have to use those contingency plans. So that is a huge relief.”

Under the K-12 budget plan, schools are getting over $500 million more in state aid than they did last year.

There will also be a $250 million equity grant to help schools with low-income students.

“I think it’s a great thing for the school district and the whole state of Illinois,” said Dr. Schiffman. “I know it’s only a stopgap measure, but at least they’re moving forward, they’re showing progress. They’re doing the job that they were elected to do, and that’s what’s important to us and the school district is that they continue to do that.”

More than half of that will go to low-income school districts, which would be very beneficial for Stateline schools here in Rockford and Freeport.

“Them adding the poverty grant will give the districts that are struggling … more opportunity to provide extra services that may provide for the students in those districts,” Dr. Schiffman said.

There is also $1 billion allotted for colleges and universities, which is about 85% of what they received the last time the state approved higher education funding.

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