State superintendent warns of “perfect storm” if school funding cut

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Illinois’ superintendent of education warned a panel of lawmakers that a “perfect storm” will be created if school funding is cut next year.

Christopher Koch told a House appropriations committee Tuesday that the number of low income students is growing as budget cuts force districts to cut staff and eliminate various programs.

The Illinois State Board of Education is asking lawmakers to provide an additional $730 million in fiscal year 2016 for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade funding. Gov. Bruce Rauner has proposed a smaller increase of roughly $300 million.

But lawmakers also are looking at a $6 billion revenue gap as they craft next year’s budget.
School districts have received less money than they’re owed for the past four years, and Koch says many are already struggling to get by.