The Illinois State Board of Education has high hopes for the upcoming legislative session: more money in next year’s budget. Spokeswoman Mary Fergus says the board will ask lawmakers this spring for a $265 million budget increase over the current fiscal year. She says that’s still well below education funding for Fiscal Year 2009. Fergus says education has been cut for the past few years and enough is enough.
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“We have sustained $650 million in cuts since Fiscal Year 2009,” she says. “I don’t think any of the citizens in Illinois would want to support this.” Fergus says the state Board of Education will go before lawmakers as often as possible this upcoming session when agencies begin outlining their budgets. She says the state has placed unfunded mandates on public schools that are important to have, but must be paid for.