|Gov. Pat Quinn Democrat|
Illinois lawmakers eased a cap on charter schools and committed to establishing a system to collect longitudinal data on student progress from preschool through college during the last legislative session. But school districts around the state will also cope with a lean budget over this academic year, as state leaders once again struggled to close a major budget shortfall.
Lawmakers in the Democratic-controlled legislature agreed to double the state charter school limit, from 60 to 120. They also approved the creation of a data warehouse for collecting longitudinal data, an effort backed by a $9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
The state was originally facing a budget deficit of more than $9 billion for fiscal 2010, before Gov. Quinn reduced that figure to a shortfall of $1.4 billion through deep cuts to state jobs and other spending. The school budget will fall slightly, from about $7.4 billion to $7.3 billion, minus federal funding, though per-pupil funding will rise from $5,959 to $6,119, according to the Illinois state school board.
A version of this article appeared in the September 23, 2009 edition of Education Week