The Illinois State Board of Education wants lawmakers to increase funding for schools by $874 million next year. The board recommended the 13.4 percent increase at their meeting today. Finance Committee Chairman Jim Baumann says 67 percent of school districts are in deficit spending.
Baumann says more than 6,400 teachers have been laid off and class sizes have grown in recent years while school funding falls. A funding increase for the state’s schools is unlikely as Illinois is in the midst of a massive budget crisis, partly because lawmakers haven't reached a deal on pension reform. Budget projections from Gov. Pat Quinn's office estimate $400 million in school cuts in the next fiscal year.