IL House looks to cut millions from education budget

By Anna Yee

May 27, 2012 Updated May 27, 2012 at 10:12 PM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Even though most schools are out for the summer, administrators may soon have a heavier workload as they plan for next year.

Public schools across the state could be experiencing funding cutbacks, worth millions of dollars, if a new House measure gets the green light.

As the clock ticks away in Springfield, state lawmakers are putting their heads together to finish this legislative session in time.

The House of Representatives is zoning in on education spending with a new bill on the table.

On Saturday, a House Appropriations committee approved to cut millions of dollars in general state aid.

That money funds Kindergarten through 12th grade public schools across the state.

Reports say the measure sets a spending cap of nearly $6.5 billion next year, down about 4% or $260 million from this year.

This, as lawmakers voted Friday to cut the number of regional superintendents.

The school budget bill is now in the hands of the full House.

State Representative Mike Unes, (R) 91st District, says he is hopeful a conclusion will come before Thursday's deadline.

"It's really a shame that we're faced with all these terrible options, and so now that we are, we have to live within our means," said Unes. "We have to looks at our budget as a whole, knowing that we can't spend more than we being in, and set our priorities. I think that's what we're doing now with all the appropriations hearings."

The Senate proposed to keep education spending at the same level as the current fiscal year.

Reports say the Chairman of the education appropriations panel says he doubts that version will move forward, adding there's no choice but to make cuts.