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August 2, 2009

Catholic schools, families hit by budget cuts

Catholic school students and their families will feel the effects budget cuts made by the Illinois State Board of Education.

The state board was told to cut $389 million from its budget as part of the emergency spending plan approved by the Illinois General Assembly earlier in July. Among the cuts state board made were:

  • Eliminating funding for the transportation reimbursement program, which was at $12.1 million in the 2009 fiscal year, and the textbook loan program, which was at $42.8 million in 2009;
  • Cutting the educational improvement and school safety block grant by 75 percent. It stood at $74.8 million in fiscal 2009.
  • Cutting the early childhood block grant by 33 percent. This program, whose aim was to achieve “preschool for all,” stood at $392.7 million in fiscal 2009.

“Non-public school parents are taxpayers,” said Zach Wichmann, the Catholic Conference of Illinois’ associate director of education. “They send their full share of tax dollars to the state to fund public education, while paying out-of-pocket for the education of their own children.”