IL lawmakers pass budget, southern IL schools thankful

IL lawmakers pass state budget, includes education funding
Updated: May. 31, 2018 at 5:00 PM CDT
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ILLINOIS (KFVS) - In a bipartisan effort, Illinois Lawmakers agree on a new state budget on Thursday, May 31.

According to State Senator Dale Fowler, includes an additional $350 million for the new K-12 Education evidence-based funding formula, adds a new merit-based scholarship program to help retain Illinois students and provides funding for the MAP Grant program at Fiscal Year 2018 levels.

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DuQuoin Superintendent Dr. Gary Kelly is grateful lawmakers passed a new state budget. He says this means he can start planning the 2018-2019 school year. "It is good that hopefully, we're going to receive those dollars, the additional $300 million going into the formula for those school districts that are in need," he said.

Dr. Kelly has been Superintendent for 21 years, he said for nine years their schools were under pro-ration, but last year was better.

"In our district, we are adding an additional teacher at each school for the coming year and that's going to help us address some of the needs that have been identified by each schools' improvement plan," Kelly said.

The new spending plan isn't just good news for Heartland Schools.

Political expert John Jackson said the state's come a long way since last year's budget mess.

"It's been a little like recovering from a serious illness, you know. You get some stability, you get things back to normal, you get a chance to sort of heal from the damage that was done for those two years," said Jackson.

For Kelly, now's the time to look to the future of the state, and his students. "We got to look at how we can help every child -- that's our job. And we have to be adamant about it. And we have to be diligent about it. And we have to continue to work toward helping every child in the state of Illinois," Kelly said.

Governor Rauner said this budget is a step in the right direction and will be acting quickly to sign it into law.

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