Press Release: Sen. Lightford Urges Stop To Education Cuts

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sen. Lightford: No More Education Cuts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 21, 2014

For more information: Ian Watts || 217.782.0571 | iwatts@senatedem.ilga.gov

SPRINGFIELD – After a Senate hearing this morning laid out the stark fiscal realities facing the state of Illinois, State Senator Kimberly A. Lightford said that Illinois’ children can’t suffer any more education budget cuts.

“Enough is enough,” said the Maywood Democrat. “Earlier this year, the State Board told us that our schools need another billion dollars to perform their basic function. Now, the Board is telling us that the reality next year will be nearly $1 billion in cuts. This situation is unreal. Do we want to sentence an entire generation to failure?”

The State Board of Education – and all other state agencies – anticipate a 20 percent spending cut next year to make up for a multibillion dollar budget deficit. The education cut alone is likely to result in more than 10,000 fewer teachers in Illinois’ children’s classrooms, eliminating the Early Childhood Block grant that enables 90,000 children to attend preschool and the end of many programs that support the state’s most at-risk students.

“We need preschool. We need teachers in the classroom. We need programs like art and music. We need to make sure that children with developmental disabilities and learning disabilities get the special attention they need,” Lightford said. “I don’t want to live in a society that tells kids they don’t matter.”

Lightford is also concerned about cuts to important human services programs that ensure that low-income families have enough to eat, that seniors can stay in their homes and that criminals who have served their time have a fair chance to reintegrate into society. All of these programs and more are on the chopping block. VFP

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