D230 Super: Quinn's Proposed 3% Education Cut Has 'Long-Lasting Implications'
State Sen. Bill Cunningham said the senate will try to alleviate cutting education costs as much as possible, following Gov. Pat Quinn's budget proposal, which includes about a 3 percent cut in state education funding.
Orland Park schools may soon have to work with even tighter funding as Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to advocate cutting 3 percent of the education budget to alleviate pension costs, the Chicago Tribune reports.
That equates to a $278 million reduction in funds for high schools and elementary schools, and it will be the third dramatic budget blow from the state to local schools in three years.
"When you have that tremendous amount of money that you have to put in the pension (system), something's got to give," Quinn told the Tribune.
As expected, local schools are not happy about the news.
Consolidated High School District 230 Superintendent James Gay said in a statement that if the cuts are passed, the state's 2014 fiscal year will be the third year in a row where education funding has been reduced.
"These cuts have long-lasting implications that extend far beyond classrooms across the state," Gay said in the statement. "These cuts impact the preparation of the future workforce and in turn the economy of our state and country. In an increasingly global economy, short changing education is not a viable option. Here in District 230, we will continue to provide the education our students deserve and our community expects with the funds available to us through local, state and federal revenue."
The state is currently paying our $6 billion a year in pensions.
State Sen. Bill Cunningham said the state is paying just under that amount for students between kindergarten and senior year of high school—a first for Illinois. But some adjustment needs to be made to stave off the growing pension debt for all state employees, including legislators, judges, public school teachers and others, Cunningham said.
"I can say there's a desire in the Senate to take a deeper look at the Governor's figures and decide what can be cut," Cunningham said. "We'll look to other areas to spare education, or if we can't completely spare education at least reduce the cuts education is facing. The thing to keep in mind is the Governor suggests a budget, but it's primarily the General Assembly's job to write it.
"I think what we'll do is get started looking at line items within state government. It will be difficult. In three years we've seen dramatic cuts in all budget lines. That's a result of pension spending continuing to climb."
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