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Senate Education Chair ensures Illinois’ schools receive record-setting investments

jbt 050719SPRINGFIELD— Schools across the 49th State Senate District are set to receive record-level funding from the bipartisan budget passed by the Illinois State Senate.

The Senate’s Education Chair, Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, fought to ensure schools across Will and Kendall Counties received state funding as promised by the mandated education funding outlined in the monumental evidence-based funding formula.

“Stability and predictability are essential to schools as they make financially sound decisions in the best interests of our children,” said Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood). “If we want equity in our outcomes for students, we need equity in our state funding.”

The budget allocates more than $544 million in dedicated funding to early childhood education to give Illinois kids a strong foundation before they enter kindergarten.

“One of the most important investments we can make as a state is in our children,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Studies continue to emphasize that the time and money we allocate in educating students at an early age pays dividends in the future.”

To fight the high property taxes that continue to burden working families across Illinois, the budget commits $50 million to support property tax relief.

“Funding schools the right way will lead to lower property taxes,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “As we work to funding our schools at 100 percent adequacy levels, it is essential that homeowners are given relief from high property tax bills.”

Bertino-Tarrant also championed House Bill 837 which would prohibit legislators from receiving raises in Fiscal Year 2020.

“It is unacceptable for legislators to receive pay raises,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This measure will ensure we work together to move the state toward fiscal stability and economic growth by directing vital tax payer dollars to where desperately needed.”

Bertino-Tarrant has refused a pay raise every year she has been in office.

Bennett supports budget plan to increase educational opportunities, strengthen social services

bennett 032318SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) voted for progress for the second year in a row Saturday, passing a balanced budget that invests in public education at all levels and supports our most vulnerable Illinoisans.

“I’m grateful for the hard work that’s gone into putting forth a State budget that focuses on the things that will keep Illinois moving forward,” Bennett said. “Under this budget, we are increasing educational opportunities and strengthening social infrastructure for families and communities throughout the state.”

The approved budget appropriates $375 million in additional funding for K-12 education, $25 million more than required by the evidence-based school funding formula. It also includes $50 million in new funding for early childhood education programs.

The plan also invests a five percent funding boost to higher education, including $35 million for the AIM High tuition grant program that provides additional assistance to Illinois students to remain in the state and attend public colleges and universities. MAP grants, upon which many college students also depend to fund their education, will also receive $451 million in funding.

“From pre-school through college, this budget reflects the importance of educating our children and supporting them on their way to bright futures and lasting careers,” Bennett said.

Bennett also voted to continue to rebuild the state’s critical human service network. Full funding for child care assistance program, homeless prevention services, autism program, addiction treatment and prevention services, the senior-based Community Care Program, youth employment services and several other necessary services are included. Additionally, a $12 million grant will also go to communities throughout the state for violence prevention programs.

“Over the past few years, Illinois has balanced its budget by cutting critical funding for social services and it’s had a detrimental impact on how human and health services are delivered in this state,” Bennett said. “With this plan, we are prioritizing the most vulnerable in our state: children, families, and individuals living with developmental disabilities or mental health issues and seniors.”

The budget will fund state government for Fiscal Year 2020, beginning July 1.

Steans: ‘Illinois is not merely surviving; we are thriving’

steans 060219Balanced budget honors commitments, invests in state’s future

SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago), one of the Senate’s lead budget negotiators, issued the following statement after voting to approve a balanced budget:

“This year’s budget cements our commitment to stability and our willingness and ability to put years of chaos behind us.

“This is a responsible plan that honors our obligations while prioritizing programs that invest in the future of our state, like early childhood education and grants for college-bound students.

Hunter applauds budget investments for critical human services

hunter 052819SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago, 3rd) issued the following statement after the Senate passed a budget package that invests in vital health and human service programs:

“I am proud to support a budget plan that reflects our commitment to safeguarding the programs and services that make a tremendous difference in the day-to-day lives of Illinoisans.

“Under this budget, we are investing in our communities by fully funding community mental health centers, youth employment services, addiction treatment and prevention services, and the child care assistance program.

“I am also encouraged to see more investments in the programs our older population needs to continue to enjoy their communities and age comfortably and with dignity. I fought to ensure that those who care for seniors and individuals with disabilities receive a wage boost. Home health workers play a critical role in caring for our state’s most vulnerable individuals and deserve our support through fair and competitive salaries. Our budget includes much needed additional to funding to increase wages for these workers.”

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