$400 million in education cuts could hit Metro-East schools hard

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by SOPHIA TAREEN and SARA BURNETT

Associated Press

Posted on March 6, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Updated Wednesday, Mar 6 at 7:54 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ill.—Gov. Pat Quinn says even though the proposed budget makes tough cuts to education he’s preserving a few areas, like early childhood education and some college scholarships.

The Chicago Democrat delivered a budget address Wednesday that calls for about $400 million in cuts to education.

Quinn says early childhood development is crucial as is the Illinois Monetary Award Program, or MAP grant program.

Quinn says access to higher education is fundamental to a student’s earning potential.

Quinn says the cuts to education are because of lawmakers’ inaction on the pension crisis. He says trying to catch up on a nearly $100 billion pension hole is crowding out spending on other areas, particularly education.

Locally, the financially-troubled Cahokia School District could be facing another $3 million in cuts, which would include wiping out all sports and music programs, closing a school and firing more teachers and administrators.

The O’Fallon District 90 has elementary and junior high schools that could be facing 9 to 10 percent cuts that will cost teachers jobs.

The superintendent says a local property tax hike is the only way to avoid wiping out all extracurricular activities, and the technology, arts and music programs.

According to the superintendent, the referendum in O’Fallon would cost $313 a year for a homeowner who has a $210,000 house.

He says if voters approve it, the district will be able to operate as it does currently.

 

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