Now that the dust has settled on our overtime legislative session, I wanted to share with you details of the stopgap funding plan passed for state operations and education.
First and foremost, the plan fully funds our schools for the entire fiscal year. As you know, this was my top priority. The bipartisan agreement funds our schools at 100 percent foundation level for the first time in seven years. That means the majority of school districts across the state will receive more state funding than they received the year before. None will receive less.
Here in Naperville, District 203 will be receiving more than $6.74 million in state aid. That’s an increase of $381,388 over the previous year and will provide an additional $23.93 per student. Indian Prairie District 204 will receive $27.6 million for a total increase of $224,074 or $8.31 more per student.
Passing this full-year of funding for education gives us some breathing room so we can now return the discussion to how we can truly improve our school funding formula for everyone; not just pick new winners and losers as recent so-called reform plans have done.
The state operations portion of the new budget agreement includes six months of funding for critical state services and higher education. It is my hope that it will serve as a bridge to a full year, responsible budget plan.
The plan provides $1 billion for colleges and universities on top of $600 million already approved in Fiscal Year 16. This will ensure universities will open on time and have the resources they need to complete their fall semester. Community colleges will also receive the funding they need ($141 million). The plan also includes $151 million for low income students who rely on MAP grants to help with their college costs.
The stopgap compromise provides $742 million in critically-needed funding for human service providers that help care for the most vulnerable in our communities. Vital state services will remain open and operating including veterans’ homes, mental health centers, state police, prisons and state parks.
Our infrastructure is also a priority in the stopgap plan. A total of $3.4 billion will fund a pay-as you go road program, and ensure that more than 800 active transportation projects continue uninterrupted keeping 25,000 workers on the job. $234 million more is included for transit, rail and airport improvement projects.
This is not a perfect plan, but it will keep the doors open and the lights on without a tax increase while the Governor and the General Assembly continue to work on a full-year balanced budget with reforms to help our families succeed and help grow our economy.