Senate approves education funding

May 30, 2013

Illinois Democrats continued approving a new state budget on party-line votes Wednesday. The Senate approved spending plans for education, from elementary and high schools to colleges and universities, with funding pretty much at last year's level.

Cuts proposed earlier this year by Governor Pat Quinn did not materialize, partly because Illinois collected more tax money than it expected in April. Sen. Dan Kotowski, a Democrat from Park Ridge, says funding for higher education is critical because it's tied to the problem of unemployment.

"If you don't have a college degree in the state of Illinois, the unemployment rate is 20 percent. Twenty percent -- it's off the charts. But if you do have a college degree, it's six percent."

Most state universities would see fractional increases. U of I's appropriation would increase by point-zero-two percent. Northern and Southern Illinois universities saw slight decreases, in the tens of thousands of dollars out of budgets that are respectively 93 and 203 million dollars. Chicago State and Western Illinois universities saw the biggest increases, greater than one percent.