Here's how local higher ed benefits from new state budget - Peoria-area News, Weather, Sports

Here's how local higher ed benefits from new state budget

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NORMAL, Ill. (WEEK) -- -

For the first time in his career, Governor Bruce Rauner signed a full-fledged budget into law.

That financial plan totals nearly 40 billion dollars and it includes money that could benefit our local schools.

Rauner signed the budget Monday, forgoing the pro-business changes and tax cuts he'd demanded in previous years. This time around though, his only sticking point was that it was a balanced budget that didn't include new taxes.

"This is a budget that was put together on a bi-partisian basis. It is a compromise. It is not perfect, but it is a good step in the right direction." Rauner delivered, during a press conference Monday. 

He calls this a plan that "moves the state forward" and a large chunk of the money - which is comprised of 2017 tax increases - is going **directly** into education.

Educators across the state are rejoicing because of it; learning that they'll soon be receiving a big payout

"It's a huge relief that things are back on track." Rachel Hatch, Assistant Director of  Media relations for llinois State University, gushed about the news. 

After operating without money from the state for years, Hatch says things were rough.

"There were a lot of 'what ifs' , a lot of different versions of budgets. 'What if they cut this much? What if they cut that much?' she recalls. 

Now that Rauner signed that 38.5 billion dollar budget into law, the university is anxiously awaiting their slice of the pie.

Hatch says they'll be receiving about $66,000,000 dollars. It's a 1.3% increase from last year and it'll go into their operational fund - a collection of money used for virtually anything the school needs - from the electricity bills to grounds keeping, and more. 

"We can plan programs, we can plan the initiatives we need, make sure we have enough classrooms for all the students." Hatch listed. She described her profound passion and confidence in the school, explaining how the money is more than just cash for school supplies , but an investment into the potential of all their students.

Even a parent who pays for his kid's private school tuition is happy his tax dollars are being used for public education.

Bobbly Caudle, an East Peoria resident and supporter of the education spending plan, said, "I think it's a great opportunity for us to pour back our good resources into our youth and properly equip them to be future leaders in this community."

About $350,000,000 will be allocated for K-12 schools and fifty million for early childhood education.

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