Members of the Illinois General Assembly and Governor Rauner have come to an agreement on what is being referred to as a “stopgap” budget package that includes some appropriations for additional FY 16 funding and partial year FY 17 funding for some programs and agencies. The appropriations parts of the budget package are coupled with other legislation including a TIF district in Chicago and changes in the Chicago Teacher’s Pension Fund.
Both PreK-12 and higher education are funded in the appropriations bill that passed both chambers (SB 2047). K-12 education is funded for the entire fiscal year (FY 17) while higher education will receive approximately $1 billion in partial funding for the current fiscal year and the start of FY 17.
General State Aid for school districts will increase by $361 million, including the creation of a new $250 million Equity Grant. The language of the bill further ensures that no district will receive less than it did in FY 16. Early childhood education will also increase by $75 million. Most other funding in the K-12 budget will match FY 16 levels, including mandated categoricals, bilingual education and career and technical education.
The $1 billion in higher education funding includes approximately $655 million to individual state universities, $114 million in base operating and equalization grants to community colleges. It also includes more than $150 million in MAP grant funds to cover obligations from FY 16 and $20 million the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) and the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) can distribute to public universities or community colleges that apply for emergency assistance.
While SB 2047 did include most funding for pension payments for the Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) and the State Universities Retirement System (SURS), the appropriated amounts fall slightly short of the funding level required for TRS and SURS.
The bill also failed to include any funding for the Teachers’ Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP). However, it is important to note that the State Pension Funds Continuing Appropriations Law remained intact, meaning TRS, SURS, and TRIP will still receive the following amounts even though the budget just passed did not fully appropriate them:
- Teachers’ Retirement System (TRS) – $3.9 billion
- State Universities Retirement System (SURS) – $1.7 billion
- Teachers’ Retirement Insurance Program (TRIP) – $110 million
The bottom line is that SB 2047 and other bills part of the “stop-gap” budget package passed both chambers and will be sent to Gov. Rauner for his signature.
UPDATE: Gov. Rauner has signed the legislation.