SPRINGFIELD, IL (AP) - Illinois lawmakers averted a shutdown of schools and avoided further uncertainty in government operations with a partial budget deal that funds education for a year and other areas for six months.
The Illinois Legislature passed a package of bills Thursday to complete an agreement by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic lawmakers after days of negotiations. But the deal means the state will still enter a second fiscal year Friday without a full budget and will likely extend the partisan fighting over a comprehensive spending plan past the November elections.
The partial budget ensures schools will operate for a full academic year and brings a sigh of relief for districts that wondered whether they could open at all. Schools will also get $500-million more dollars. No school district loses money compared with the current year. Districts that serve more low-income students will split a $250 million grant, with Chicago Public Schools receiving about $100 million.
Lawmakers also allowed the Chicago Board of Education to raise property taxes $250 million to help pay billions in teacher pension debt.
Higher education institutions, social services providers, and government operations will get money for six months.