NEWS

From the Illinois State Senate

Senator Kimberly A. Lightford, Assistant Majority Leader

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, March 29, 2012

LIGHTFORD: EDUCATION FUNDING IS “INADEQUATE AND UNACCEPTABLE”
Proposes plan to correct this year’s funding shortfall

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois – State Senator Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) has introduced legislation (Senate Bill 3829) to correct a $230 million budget shortfall for education in Illinois.

This year’s budget set a “foundation level” of $6,119 per pupil but failed to set aside enough money to meet that funding level. Because of this shortfall, school districts will not receive their final payment this June, unless legislators act. Senator Lightford’s proposed supplemental appropriation would bring education funding to this full foundation level and allow the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to make all scheduled payments to school districts.

“We’re breaking our own rules and not meeting our own standards,” said Lightford. “Setting a foundation level means nothing if we don’t also provide the money to meet that level. And what’s worse, there are already plans to shortchange education again next year by an even greater amount. This level of education funding is both inadequate and unacceptable for Illinois.”

Adding to the urgency of Lightford’s call for adequate funding of education at all levels is the recent news that Monetary Assistance Program (MAP) grant funds have run out far sooner this year than in previous years. MAP grant funds cover college tuition costs for eligible need-based students in Illinois. The rate at which these funds were depleted this year is a strong signal that need far outpaces the state’s funding commitment to helping youth attend college.

“I fear that attempts to cut the budget in the short term will bring dire long-term consequences for future generations,” said Lightford. “Without properly funding education from early childhood through college, we are leaving young people unprepared to enter college or the workforce.”

Lightford intends to continue her fight for adequate school funding as lawmakers craft the fiscal year 2013 budget during April and May. Governor Pat Quinn’s budget request for education funding would have to be increased by over $400 million in order to maintain the state’s per-pupil foundation level at $6,119.

Because poorer districts rely more heavily on state aid to fund their schools, a failure to budget enough funds disproportionately affects areas with high numbers of disadvantaged students and families.

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Category: News Releases

 

Senator Lightford will be recognizing those Grandparents in the community raising their grandchildren. To nominate a grandparent in your community, please contact Senator Lightford's District Office by calling (708) 343-7444 and ask for a nomination form. Click below to download the flyer.  

Category: Blog

The Illinois Education Association (IEA) recently honored State Senator Kimberly A. Lightford with their 2012 IEA-NEA “Friend of Education” Award.

The IEA’s Executive Committee voted to bestow Senator Lightford with this award in recognition of her “support and lengthy collaborative relationship with the education community.”

A long-time advocate for education in Illinois, Senator Lightford led the effort to pass landmark education reform last year. See photos, below:

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Category: Blog

Under a new law sponsored by Senator Kimberly A. Lightford, parents will have access to a newly designed school report that will show them how their child’s school is performing in three key areas – student outcomes, student progress, and school environment – beginning in 2013. The legislation was recently signed into law by Governor Quinn. See photos from the bill signing ceremony below.

Listen to Senator Lightford describe the impact of this new legislation:
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Listen to Senator Lightford describe the new features of the revamped report:
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Listen to Senator Lightford discuss Illinois' recent advancements in education:
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Senator Lightford gave the following statement at the ceremony: “Parents have a right to know how their child’s school is performing. It’s also important for us to be able to track vital information about student progress so that we can determine what policies and practices are working and how we can do better.” Click "Read More" to read the entire news release.

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Read more ...

Category: Blog

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