Illinois still doesn't have a complete and constitutional budget in place, but lawmakers are working in a bipartisan way to address critical needs.
State Senator Dave Luechtefeld is pleased with the 55-2 vote in the senate on Thursday to provide 60-percent funding levels for state universities, community colleges and MAP grants. But he warns the house must follow suit to make the funding a reality.
It is good we are doing this bipartisan. One thing that concerns me is, we have done this in the Senate, if nothing happens in the house, it doesn't mean a whole lot," said Luechtefeld. "At least it is a start I think. Hopefully they will take this up."
Luechtefeld adds while the legislation is a step forward, it is really nothing to brag about. He says the ten months and counting impasse over the budget has caused real hardships. Luectefeld notes SIU in my district and he has seen the devastation that is really going to be hard to make up. You just don't get those teachers back and you don't get those students back. It will really take years to make up the devastation that has occurred at all of the universities and community colleges.
Kaskaskia College President Dr. Penny Quinn says the overall bill would provide an additional $90-million dollars. The amount of money Kaskaskia College would receive is not yet known. Quinn says the 60-percent goal is the target of the entire bill, not necessarily for each college.
Last month, lawmakers used $600 million left over in an education fund to help colleges make it through the summer. Lawmakers are proposing to get the money for the current bill by not repaying various state funds they borrowed from.