Illinois General Assembly urged to “Pass Illinois’ Budget!”

Illinois’ school superintendents have formed a grassroots campaign to tell Illinois’ governor and legislature the time to solve the budget crisis is now. The grassroots initiative, called “Pass Illinois’ Budget!,” urges lawmakers and the Governor to improve the state’s education funding formula, and pay school districts millions of dollars owed in unpaid bills this year. So far, the 389 participating superintendents represent nearly 65 percent of Illinois public school students from Carbondale to Chicago to Rockford.

As members of the Illinois General Assembly return to Springfield following spring break, school districts are using school marquees to share their frustration with the state budget crisis and taking to social media with a call to #PassILBudget. The superintendents are calling on members of the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor to end the state budget impasse immediately and with bipartisan support, improve the state’s education funding formula and invest in students and schools—including higher education—throughout the state, and pay school districts what they are owed this year.

Berwyn South School District 100 superintendent, Mary Havis, joins the 389 and counting school chiefs from across the state. Together, they represent approximately 1.3 million students in calling for the Illinois General Assembly to immediately pass a state budget. The state now owes School District 100 more than $1.8 million dollars, and has been operating without a full budget for the past 22 months. “District 100 is united with more than 380 districts from across the state in a call for action to end the budget impasse,” said Mary Havis. “We urge the Illinois General Assembly and the Governor to move forward with a budget that will provide equitable funding for the two million K-12 Illinois public school students who deserve access to excellent educational opportunities.”

State revenue accounts for about 42% of District 100’s budget. The General State Aid payments, which support general operating expenses, are being paid on time; however, the categorical payments are not. District 100 has not received any categorical payments this year with the exception of one late quarter payment from last fiscal year. The shortfall will continue to limit the district’s ability to provide much needed resources for our students.

While K-12 education has benefited from a partially funded state budget, Illinois schools, students, families, and communities will continue to suffer without a full state budget. Districts will continue to struggle if mandated categorical payments—state payments which support special education, bilingual education, transportation, and other important services—do not get paid this year.

To join the fight, contact your local legislator at http://www.house.gov/representatives/find and ask them to end the budget impasse, improve the state’s education funding formula, and pay districts what they are owed.

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