January 25 – The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) finalized its fiscal year 2018 budget recommendations for pre-K through 12th-grade educational services providers statewide.
ISBE’s total budget recommendations amount to $7.727 billion, an increase of $266.4 million (3.45 percent) over FY 2017 levels.
ISBE held three public hearings in different parts of the state to gather feedback on spending needs and priorities. ISBE formulated its budget recommendations based on the testimony of educators, students, and community members and adhered to three key principles: aligning with ISBE’s goals; advocating for the needs of children across the state, as identified through requests from the field; and recognizing the need for universal and differentiated support to meet the unique needs of each and every child in the state.
“The budget request approved by ISBE today strives to meet the needs of students, families, and school districts,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “ISBE remains committed to the vision of Illinois as a state of whole, healthy children nested in whole, healthy systems supporting communities wherein all citizens are socially and economically secure.”
ISBE recommends fully funding General State Aid (GSA) in FY 2018 at the Foundation Level of $6,119 per student, while maintaining the current GSA appropriation of $5.078 billion. The Foundation Level represents the mandated minimum level of funding required to meet the basic education needs of one student in the Illinois pre-K through 12th-grade public school system.
Other highlights from the budget request approved by ISBE include…
- An increase of $50 million for Early Childhood Education, as incorporated into the federal Preschool Expansion grant agreement to increase access to quality, effective services for the most at-risk children in the state;
- An increase of $38.4 million to fully fund bilingual education programs serving the growing number of English Learners in the state; and
- Increases in funding to support special education, arts and foreign language programs, agricultural education, broadband expansion and other digital technology enhancements, Career and Technical Education, teacher mentoring and diverse educator recruitment, Advanced Placement exam fees for low-income students, and other critical investments that contribute to the college and career success of all Illinois students.
ISBE will submit its recommended budget to the Illinois General Assembly before Feb. 17.