If schools don’t get funding certainty from the state soon, there’s a likelihood some won’t open this fall. There could also be real problems at the Illinois Department of Corrections, too.
Appearing with Gov. Bruce Rauner Wednesday, hours after Illinois lawmakers failed to pass a budget, Vienna High School Superintendent and Principal Josh Stafford said he’s ashamed.
“It’s a tragedy that these children are being held hostage with the realities of schools not opening in the fall,” Stafford said.
State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, pushed for a standalone bill he introduced that would end cuts to districts and fully fund the existing funding formula. The measure would also ensure each district gets at least as much as it received for the current fiscal year.
“By doing this we’re assuring parents, teachers and ultimately our children that they’re going to have a place to go this fall and they’re going to get the education that they need,” Barickman said.
Department of Corrections Director John Baldwin said not passing a budget is irresponsible. Baldwin said vendors have been working with DOC during the budget impasse this fiscal year, but that could change.
“As time goes by, that becomes more and more of a challenge. We need results. We need something that we can work with to keep our staff and our offenders safe,” Baldwin said.
Gov. Bruce Rauner said Democratic leaders want to put pressure on corrections and other government operations.
“They want the leverage in government operations to force a tax hike, to force an unbalanced budget,” he said.
Rauner toured several cities downstate June 1 to urge passage of a stopgap measure to fund operations through the rest of the calendar year and a standalone education-funding bill for the entire fiscal year. After that, Rauner said working groups can hammer out details for reforms to grow the economy.
The House is expected back in Springfield next week. The next fiscal year begins July 1.