Sen. Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford

SPRINGFIELD – Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) declared the state’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget a positive investment for our state’s children – prioritizing education, youth employment and mental health.

“A person’s educational success begins the day they are born. The quickest way to fail a generation is by failing to prioritize their education,” said Lightford (D-Maywood). “In Illinois, I am proud to say we took a positive step toward ensuring our students aren’t failed by an unjust system.”

The budget – backed by Lightford – includes a $250 million investment into early childhood education. The funding will be used to expand preschool, stabilize the child care workforce, and provide more early intervention and home visiting programs.

Further, the budget includes additional MAP grant funding, ensuring everyone at or below the median income can go to community college free. This builds upon Lightford’s commitment to prioritize education from birth to college.

“As a General Assembly, we did what was right by the people of Illinois and fought for equitable funding and access to education,” said Lightford. “I was proud to vote for a budget that provides our youth with greater opportunities for success – from investing in early childhood education to ensuring higher education is more affordable and accessible.”

The budget also included investments into workforce development – particularly for teens and young adults. It passed the Senate Thursday.