The Illinois Senate has bucked the governor’s proposed education cuts in passing a pair of budget bills.  The governor wanted to cut school transportation funding and to lower the amount of money going to schools. Doing so would have trimmed $300 million from the Fiscal Year 2014 budget. But senators balked at those cuts, approving a pair of education funding bills.
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That fact, however, was lost during floor debate as Republicans took Democrats to task over what they call disproportionate education funding between Downstate schools and those in Chicago.  State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Westchester) took issue with those claims. “Last time I checked, poor is poor,” said Lightford. “[It] doesn’t matter where the heck you live in the state.”  A task force is looking into how money is dispersed among schools in Illinois and is expected to report its findings to the legislature next year.   The budget bills, one for elementary and secondary education and the other for higher education, were approved on party line votes. Both bills kept funding on par with what is being spent during the current fiscal year.  Both budget bills move to the Illinois House.
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