EdWeek's Take On the Springfield Session

Here's what EdWeek has to say about the legislative session in Springfield. 

Ed. Spending Hike Includes Tuition Aid
                               

The
following offers highlights of the recent legislative sessions.
Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2005 data reported
by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The
spending figures for precollegiate education do not include federal
flow-through funds, unless noted.

Illinois

Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich

Democrat
Senate:
31 Democrats
27 Republicans
  1 Independent

House:
65 Democrats
  53 Republicans
Enrollment:
   2.1 million

   

State lawmakers in Illinois have approved a series of
education-related measures supported by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, who is
up for re-election in the fall, including a new financial-aid program
tailored to middle-income families and an expansion of the states
preschool program.

The financial-aid measure will offer
a $500-a-year grant to sophomores, juniors, and seniors who attend
college in Illinois, where in-state tuition and fees at public
universities average about $7,000 a year. The new program, funded at
$34 million in fiscal 2007, is aimed at students whose family incomes
are more than the eligibility threshold of the existing Monetary Award
Program, or MAP, for college students from needy families.

Legislators
also agreed to support the governors Preschool for All program, which
will expand eligibility for state-subsidized preschool programs for
three- and four-year-olds to middle-income families, not just
low-income ones. The program is expected to cost $45 million in fiscal
2007 and $135 million over a three-year period, said Ronny
Wickenhauser, the budget and financial adviser for the state board of
education.

Overall state general funds for K-12 education will increase by about 7 percent, to $6.5 billion, in fiscal 2007.

Lawmakers
also approved legislation, supported by Mr. Blagojevich, that will make
it easier for school districts to consolidate. The new measure will
make it easier for willing districts to merge, while allowing single
dissenting districts to remain independent.

                               

Filed under: The World Outside CPS

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