Illinois schools are receiving a major boost in funding thanks to the bipartisan education budget passed at the end of June, according to data recently released by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).
Also during the week, we continued our push to make sure the recent budget actions are just the first step toward a full-year, balanced and responsible budget, along with structural reforms that help grow jobs and improve the state’s economy.
In other action, nominations are being sought for those who have made great strides toward helping veterans; and the Governor has recently taken action on a backlog of petitions for clemency.
Funding info for schools
The ISBE has recently revised its school funding forecast with data from the recent education budget passed by the General Assembly, showing school districts receiving a boost for the upcoming school year.
The budget itself represents an historic level of cash for K-12 schools as well as pre-K programs, including ending proration of school funding for the first time in seven years. All schools will receive at least their 2015-2016 school year funding level plus a share of a statewide $250 million equity grant. If the existing formula would have given them more money than that for 2016-2017 school year, then the district will receive that higher level. According to State Superintendent Tony Smith, every school district in Illinois will receive more money than it did during the previous year.
Continue push for fully balanced budget
Governor Bruce Rauner has been touring the state to let residents know how the recent stopgap and school budgets will help keep the state operating through the rest of the year. But it is important to note that the recent action is just one step toward truly undoing the damage done by years of out-of-balance budgets and mounting debt.
The Governor notes that negotiations held by rank-and-file legislators are close to reaching bipartisan agreements on a number of major issues, including property tax relief for homeowners, workers’ compensation reform, achieving major savings for the nation’s most underfunded pension system, and improving the school funding system to help all schools throughout the state.
The Governor has warned though that he doesn’t think majority party lawmakers will be willing to take action on major issues until after the November election.
Nominations for Veteran and Business of the Year
The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs is seeking help from the public to honor the outstanding work of military veterans and businesses who have made significant contributions to veterans’ causes.
The Department is asking for nominations for the Illinois Veterans Patriotic Volunteer and Appreciation Award, which honors the work of an Illinois veteran for the veteran community and local communities, as well as nominations for the Illinois Veterans’ Business Appreciation Award, which highlights and honors the work of any business, organization, or non-profit that has significantly helped veterans.
For more information on the awards and a nomination form, visit http://go.usa.gov/chEmV.
Governor acts on clemency requests
Governor Rauner has recently taken action on petitions for clemency, granting six and denying 150. According to the Governor’s office, approximately 500 clemency petitions remain from previous administrations.
The Governor has taken action on 10 sets of clemency petitions since taking office. Each person granted clemency has recently undergone a criminal background check through the Illinois State Police’s Law Enforcement Agencies Data System. If a petitioner is granted clemency for a pardon, they are allowed to seek expungement of their conviction through the court system.