The Illinois Senate approved the education spending portion of the state’s fiscal year 2014 budget. The vote fell along party lines.
the first time in a long time, we’ve had level funding,” said State
Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge) during debate on the package. He pointed out that the proration level for K-12 education
funding will be held at 89 percent under the plan and spending would stay at its current levels.
plan avoids approximately $300 million in education cuts recommended in
Gov. Pat Quinn’s budget proposal.
funding levels for transportation costs, special education, school
lunches and bilingual education, the proposal makes a small cut to
early childhood education.
“We fought for and avoided further cuts,” said State Sen. John Sullivan (D-Rushville).
In rejecting the education budget, Republicans argued that the state’s overall spending would increase by $1.7
billion in next year's budget.
“This is the third year in a
row that spending is up since the income tax hike,” State Sen. Matt
Murphy (R-Palatine) said on the Senate floor while the plan was being
deliberated. “You promised spending would go down.”
State Sen. Dave Luechtefeld (R-Okawville) doubted Republican logic,
questioning how spending can increase if education funding is level.
Illinois Senate also okayed a budget plan for higher education. Both
proposals will now advance to the Illinois House for consideration.
Tuesday's House-approved operational budget plans,
including a pot of money for the Department of Public Health
for legalization of medicinal marijuana, still need Senate approval as
lawmakers race against a May 31 adjournment date.