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State superintendent: education cuts ‘devastating’

Published: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 10:22 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, March 11, 2014 10:23 p.m. CDT

SPRINGFIELD – The head of the Illinois State Board of Education says proposed cuts in education funding could be “devastating” to school districts, which need more – not less – money.

State superintendent Christopher Koch’s comments were reported by the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers and come as lawmakers consider a potential $1 billion funding decrease. ISBE had asked for a $1 billion increase.

“That would be certainly devastating,” Koch said of the decrease. “We have currently 22 percent of our school districts that have a hundred days’ cash or less on hand. We could have districts simply not make it through the school year.”

Koch asked for another $1 billion in education funding last month. But a preliminary revenue blueprint released by lawmakers could leave schools with less money for the fiscal year that begins in July.

The potential cuts come as state officials debate whether to change the school funding formula, which hasn’t been updated since the mid-1990s.

That proposal would put almost all state education funding into one pot and require districts to demonstrate need.

The current method factors in poverty for some types of state aid, but not others. It also treats Chicago school funding differently.

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