Springfield, ILÂ â€“ The Illinois State Board of Education is launching a series of public budget hearings as it prepares its Fiscal Year 2012 education budget recommendation for the Governor and General Assembly. The series will begin with a 3 p.m. hearing Monday, Oct. 18 in room 16-503 at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago that will be followed by five public forums across the state. The Boardâ€™s Finance and Audit Committee is asking participants to identify their education funding priorities and suggest any solutions to the state debt and backlog of payments owed to schools.
â€œPublic feedback is always important in the budget making process because it provides insight into local priorities and puts a face to the more than two million students served through our state education budget,â€™â€™ said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch. â€œWe know districts are waiting on nearly one billion dollars in back payments for services already provided while also dealing with less state and local revenue and an unknown future. We expect to hear from more citizens this fall as we move forward toward recommending a budget to the General Assembly.â€™â€™Â
The Illinois State Board of Educationâ€™s Finance and Audit Committee conducts public hearings each year to gather opinions about the education needs and priorities at the local level as they prepare the following yearâ€™s education budget. The Board generally recommends an education budget in January, several months prior to any General Assembly action on the next fiscal yearâ€™s budget. The Board can only make a recommendation. The Governor and legislators must determine how to generate revenue and set the final budget.
People planning to participate at the budget hearings are asked to bring five copies of written testimony to submit to the Finance and Audit Committee.Â A sign-in sheet will be available at each hearing site. The committee invites the general public, appointed and elected officials, candidates and organizations to respond to the following questions as they consider next yearâ€™s budget.
Â 1)Â Â Â The State Board has prioritized General State Aid, mandated categoricals, such as special education and transportation, and early childhood, as budget priorities in the past.Â Should this focus continue during tough economic times?
2)Â Â Â The state has been unable to provide timely payments to districts for two consecutive years, thus making local planning difficult.Â What actions should be taken to address this situation?
3)Â Â Â In each of the last two years, the state budget has been supplemented by $1 billion from federal stimulus funds. How should education expenditures change in the future with likely reduced federal spending, but no decrease in federally mandated programs? Should the state impose cost savings due to these reduced federal funds or leave cuts to the discretion of local districts?
The Finance and Audit Committee FY 2012 Budget Hearings will be accessible to persons with disabilities. Persons planning to attend who need special accommodations should contact the Board office no later than the day before the meeting they wish to attend. Contact the Superintendent’s office at the State Board of Education, Phone: 217-782-2221; TTY/TDD: 217-782-1900; Fax: 217-785-3972.
Â Those who are unable to attend one of the six public hearings are encouraged to email responses to the guiding questions to email@example.com Â The following is a list of meetings:
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Monday, October 18, 2010 â€” 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. â€” Chicago â€” Room 16-503, James R. Thompson Center , 100 West Randolph Street , Chicago
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Wednesday, October 27, 2010 â€” 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. â€” Springfield â€” ISBE Office, 4th floor Board Room, 100 N. First Street , Springfield
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Wednesday, November 3, 2010 â€” 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. â€” Mundelein â€” Carl Sandberg School Multipurpose Room, Mundelein S.D. #75, 855 W. Hawley Street, Mundelein
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Monday, November 8, 2010 â€” 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. â€” Belleville â€” St. Clair County Regional Office of Education, 1000 S. Illinois Street , Belleville
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Monday, November 15, 2010 â€” 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. â€” DeKalb â€” DeKalb County Regional Office of Education, 2500 N. Annie Glidden Rd. , DeKalb
Â·Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Tuesday, November 30, 2010 â€” 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. â€” Champaign â€” Champaign Public Library, Robeson Pavilion, Room C, 200 W. Green Street , Champaign Â