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Illinois budget

It's a rare occurrence of late: A credit rating agency saying something positive about Illinois' finances. But the comment published Tuesday by Moody's Investor Service was tempered.

Illinois could end up having to put an additional half billion dollars into one of its pension funds next year.

As the name suggests, the Teachers Retirement System is the retirement benefits fund for all Illinois public school teachers outside of Chicago.

Illinois' partial budget is too little and too late to make up for projected investment losses.

Western Looks to Boost Fundraising Efforts

Jul 27, 2016
TSPR's Emily Boyer

As state financial support continues to decline for Illinois' public colleges and universities, Western Illinois University wants to bulk up another revenue stream.  But Illinois' budget uncertainty is making it difficult. 

Rich Egger

John Miller, President of the University Professionals of Illinois, Local 4100, said the six month spending plan passed by lawmakers and signed by the governor was poorly done and is not even a true budget. And he said it amounts to another cut for higher education.

Breanna Descourouez

The museum closed to the public October 1 because of the state budget stalemate.  It reopened July 2 and a public celebration was held this past weekend.

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, said recent racial killings underscore the need for conversations about race relations and law enforcement, but there are also systemic issues that need more specifically addressed.

During the recent state budget impasse, Illinois colleges and universities have been forced to scrape by without state funding, except for stop gap money designed to keep them open through the fall semester. But that may not satisfy accreditation agencies. James Applegate, director of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, says the Higher Learning Commission may just home in on the fact that Illinois schools are missing what schools in other states have: a solid budget.

TSPR

Some employees at Western Illinois University are raising money that could help their co-workers who were laid off or furloughed afford higher education.

Illinois legislators haven’t been paid in months, but that’s about to change.

Rich Egger

Western Illinois University will receive $31.4 million from the state's stop-gap funding measure, plus about $5.1 million to reimburse the university for the Monetary Award Program (MAP) funding it loaned to students for the spring semester.  But that still falls far short of what the university might normally expect from the state.

The unprecedented Illinois budget impasse has ended ... for now. Lawmakers passed and the governor signed a partial budget Thursday, the final day of fiscal year 2016. But it's only a temporary patch.

The stalemate went longer than many expected.  

Illinois lawmakers are on the verge of passing a state budget, though only a partial one. Thursday is the final day of the 2016 fiscal year.

The plan is for lawmakers to vote on an agreement the governor and the General Assembly's leaders apparently worked out in hours of private meetings yesterday. 

Democratic leaders in the legislature and Gov. Bruce Rauner appear to be close to a deal to approve some funding for social service providers, higher education, capital construction and state operations. The proposal would also fund K-12 schools for all of next fiscal year.

But the plan can’t erase the destruction caused by the state going for a year without a budget.​​

High School Students Make YouTube Plea for Funding

Jun 29, 2016
Traci Johnson/Youtube

Illinois legislators return to Springfield Wednesday with a last ditch effort to reach a bipartisan compromise before a new fiscal year begins Friday.

Students from a small school district in western Illinois are lobbying legislators to keep their school open via a two and a half minute video on YouTube

Illinois lawmakers are expected to vote on a short-term budget on Wednesday, when they'll be back in Springfield for the first time in a month. There's no budget plan in place for the new fiscal year that starts Friday, which could create even more disarray after a year-long stalemate.

Though political fighting at the statehouse and the lack of a complete budget meant it was haphazard, municipalities got much of their state funding this year. But Illinois is set to begin a new fiscal year Friday with no spending plan in place. That has local officials worried.

Mahomet Village President Sean Widener says it's a matter of stability.

Western Continues Furlough Program

Jun 27, 2016
TSPR

Some Western Illinois University employees were required to take unpaid days off in Fiscal Year 2016, and they will have to take more in the new fiscal year as the school tries to cope with a drastic decrease in state aid.

Rich Egger

The Western Illinois University Board of Trustees endorsed the efforts of school President Jack Thomas by unanimously agreeing to extend his contract. Dr. Thomas will remain president at least through the 2016-17 fiscal year, which begins July 1.  

TSPR

Just a few weeks remain in the fiscal year and Western Illinois University is preparing to wrap up the books without much financial support from the state.

The university received only about 30% of its regular state appropriations. When that round of funding was announced in April, there was hope more money would soon follow.  But, Illinois lawmakers wrapped up the spring legislative session without passing a state spending plan for this year or next.

T.J. Carson

U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) is worried the lack of a state budget is putting institutions of higher education throughout Illinois at risk. He said it could be a "disaster" for state universities and private colleges to recruit students with so much uncertainty surrounding their bottom lines.

The Illinois legislature adjourned last night with no budget for education -- at any level.

Illinois' budget crisis will continue, unabated. The regular, spring session came to an end Tuesday night, without any resolution to the stalemate that has the state entering its twelfth month without a complete spending plan. There's no plan for next year, either.

Illinois could be heading into a second year without a budget. Lawmakers are beginning their final day of the regularly-scheduled spring session without a deal.

Lawmakers only have two days to pass a budget before a pending deadline. But even as top leaders came out of a meeting Sunday, saying that a deal is possible, it was clear the chances are woefully slim.

Gov. Bruce Rauner has danced around it before. But this time, he didn't flinch.

Rauner says if it gets to his desk, he will reject in its entirety the only spending plan currently alive in the statehouse: a plan House Democrats approved last week.

School Superintendents Warn of Bleak Futures

May 20, 2016
T.J. Carson

School districts across Illinois are worried about whether they will receive state funding for  next school year.  They say without the state support, teachers and other employees could lose their jobs, programs could be cut, and some schools might close their doors.

School Year Ends But Cash Needs Continue at WIU

May 17, 2016
Rich Egger

Even though the school year is over at Western Illinois University, the Macomb community is still rallying for higher education funding.  About 50 people -- including Western faculty, staff and a few students -- gathered alongside members of the community for a demonstration that started in Chandler Park.

flickr/ Bill Brooks

Bipartisan working groups are currently trying to find a way out of the budget impasse. But the crisis could have been prevented long before the battle between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic leaders began.

Unionized Faculty at Western Agree to Pay Cut

May 9, 2016
Emily Boyer

Members of the University Professionals of Illinois chapter at Western Illinois University voted overwhelmingly to defer 3% of their compensation for the next two years. They also agreed to pass up a negotiated 1% salary increase.

Breanna Descourouez

Argyle Lake State Park in western Illinois joins public universities and social service providers in feeling the pain of the ongoing state budget impasse.

Thanks to a law signed last week, Illinois' public universities and community colleges are finally getting state money for the first time since last summer. Now, more could be on the way.

The bipartisan deal is sending $600 million to higher education.

But it wasn't spread out evenly.

Most schools got 30-percent of last year's funding.

Chicago State University got 60-percent.

Senator Donne Trotter, a Chicago Democrat, says that's because CSU was on the precipice of a shutdown.

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