State Facing Educational Funding Emergency - Chicago News and Weather | FOX 32 News

State Facing Educational Funding Emergency

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Illinois schools are facing a funding crisis.

Lawmakers who are still in Springfield have yet to sign off on Governor Quinn's budget for 2011. In the budget is a $1.3 billion plan to cut funding for state schools.

In Chicago at Manuel Perez Middle School, staff and students are bracing for the worst.

"Everyone is nervous, everyone is on pins and needles," said Principal Vicky Kleros. "But we are carrying forward and everyone is still putting forth hard effort and we are continuing through this year to provide the high quality education that we have, but we are nervous."

The school is already overcrowded and very dependent on state funding to supplement the high number of students from families with low incomes and limited English.

"We are currently planning based on a worst-case scenario budget," said Kleros.

That scenario includes many school staff members, including teachers, losing their jobs by June.

Other things could also be cut. Full-time kindergarten could go down to half a day.

 

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RAW INTERVIEW: CPS CEO Ron Huberman

LINK: Find your elected officials

LINK: Illinois State Board of Education Budget

LINK: Chicago Public Schools Budget

LINK: Elgin District 46 Budget

LINK: Indian Prairie District 204 Budget

LINK: Naperville District 203 Budget

LINK: Carpentersville District 300 Budget

LINK: Waukegan District 60 Budget

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"It affects me, because I was planning to go back to school and with full time kindergarten that would be easier," said Maria Cortes.

 

Bilingual assistance including the on-site parent center would also be slashed.

"Any progress that we've made with them, getting them to proficiency will be halted," said Kleros. "I think the bilingual program will suffer a lethal blow."

Principals have spent weeks crafting budgets that fit the cuts, but they hope those bare bones blueprints won't be needed. Perhaps lawmakers will come through with different numbers.

"We can't have this same budget crisis every year, because it is extremely difficult to plan and to educate when there's a crisis every year," said Kleros.

 

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