State School Officials Warn of Layoffs, 4-Day Week

A week after Governor Pat Quinn suggested lawmakers slash the state’s education budget — Illinois school officials are asking them to instead INCREASE spending on schools. Brian Mackey has more.

The chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education, Gery Chico, says public schools can’t afford any more cuts. He says they’re already eliminating extracurricular activities, getting rid of staff, and shortening the school day.

CHICO: “I mean, how about this one: How about a four-day school week? There are people calling … suggesting that they want to go to a four-day school week to make the budget balance. I mean, we are going get weird here. Because it’s financial desperation.”

To that end, he’s asking for an $874 million increase in state spending on education, instead of Quinn’s proposed $370 million cut. Republicans on a House budget committee greeted the request with skepticism. Rep. Jeanne Ives is from Wheaton.

IVES: “I mean, I think that what we need from you is really the realistic figure, and not the dream figure, because I just don’t see that that’s going to happen.”

Officials from the State Board of Ed reject the idea that education spending has to be cut, and say it should be Illinois’ highest budget priority.

— Brian Mackey

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