One of my greatest concerns is that our children receive quality education that will give them the foundation to pursue their individual dreams. The change in State of Illinois law which says the state is now responsible for the majority of funding for schools is truly a giant step forward to correcting inequities while providing for students with the most need.

I fully supported the stopgap appropriations bill for FY17 to ensure that schools open on time in the fall. Overall, schools in the 86th District will see a 5.6 percent increase in funding–$83,752,405—in funding for FY17.

Following is an itemization of Illinois General State Aid (GSA) for schools in our 86th District as released by the Illinois House of Representatives Democratic staff.

These amounts only represent the GSA payments and do not include other state funding that your district may receive for early childhood education, transportation, special education or other items.

The stopgap appropriations bill includes a full year of funding for elementary and secondary education. The GSA appropriation includes these three components:

  1.  A freeze on FY16 payments so that no district will receive less than the last fiscal year.
  2. An Equity Grant, totaling $250 million, which is distributed in the same proportion as the FY16 supplemental GSA grant (poverty grant).
  3.  A hold-harmless equal to the district’s full FY17 GSA claim so no district receives less than it would under the current formula, with no proration.


I have visited with students at Joliet Junior College and the University of St. Francis to talk with them about the importance of MAP (Minority Assistance Program) and to learn more about their dreams for the future. More than 130,000 Illinois residents receive financial assistance from MAP each year. I am a staunch supporter of MAP and higher education and always vote to support students as they work hard to achieve their education. Higher education is an important investment in our state’s workforce, economy and quality of life.