As the fiscal year came to a close, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 2047, a bi-partisan education funding bill and stop-gap budget agreement.
Senate Bill 2047 provides $75 million in funding for early childhood education, and a statewide equity grant for the poorest school districts. In doing so, the bill prioritizes education funding and represents a historic investment in education by funding schools at 100% foundation level for the first time in seven years.
Specifically, the stopgap funding plan provides $1 billion to higher education, in addition to the already allocated $600 million for FY16, and also includes $151 million for MAP grants. The bi-partisan compromise also provides $742 million in critically-needed funding for human service providers. The plan also made state infrastructure a priority by funding $3.4 billion to the pay-as-you-go road program, which will ensure more than 800 active transportation projects continue keeping 25,000 workers on the job.
In response, State Representative Steve Andersson (R-Geneva) released the following statement:
“Today’s agreement was a huge step in moving past an 18 month budget impasse. While this is not a full budget, it appropriates funds for our state’s biggest needs—and most importantly, it moves our State forward beyond the impasse. This stopgap is vital for Illinois to continue to operate and gives our taxpayers certainty that the state’s services can continue. This agreement has made funding education a priority. Schools will open on time and have essential resources for the entire school year. It guarantees critical state operations and services continue- providing for those in our state that need it the most.
“While we must do far better moving forward, today was a significant improvement where we stood accountable for our taxpayers and found genuine compromise. Ultimately bi-partisan negotiations prevailed and we ended the fiscal year with an agreement, which is the next step in moving toward a balanced full year budget.”