Proposed education budget increases funding, cuts programs

For the first time in five years, Illinois schools could see an increase in funding with Governor Bruce Rauner proposing an addition of $300,000,000 to the K-12 budget.

If approved by the legislature the increase would bring schools to the foundation level of funding of $6,119 per student.

However, even with a proposed increase Illinois would still rank well below the Education Funding Advisory Board recommendation of $8,899 per student.

Vienna High School consistently produces some of the highest test scores in Illinois, but like many schools their teachers are asked to do more with less.

“The last four years we’ve had a shortfall of about a half a million dollars which has caused us to cut programs, teachers, and increase class sizes,” said Superintendent Edwin Shoemate.

With the potential of $300,000,000 being pumped into K-12 Education by the state, help may finally be on the way for local educators.

“We’re very excited to see anything that is going to get us back to the foundation level that we’ve been promised for years,” said Josh Stafford.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” said Shoemate. “Some of that money would be used to put another teacher in the classroom, and expand the offerings that we have. Right now we’re bare bones as far as faculty.”

Superintendent Edwin Shoemate does have some concerns about the budget increase proposal, which cuts safe school funding and eliminates agriculture programs.

“We’re one of the few schools that still have an FFA program as well as an Industrial Education program and those teachers are valuable for our kids,” said Shoemate. “We offer dual credit welding which produces kids that are instantly employed once they leave high school.”

In addition to the $300,000,000 in funding for K-12 schools, Governor Rauner’s proposed budget also includes an additional $25,000,000 for Pre-K education.

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