- Michael L Bergonzi
IBHE Approves 2024 Fiscal Year Budget
By: Michael L. Bergonzi
The Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) approved the 2024 fiscal year budget recommendations on January 19, 2023. One change includes a 50 million dollar increase to the Monetary Award Program (MAP) grant, according to a press release from the organization. For the University of Illinois and other public universities in the state, the budget adds a 7.5 percent increase of 86.3 million dollars to “continue closing equity gaps in access, persistence, and completion.” The board would distribute the funds first to those universities with a higher percentage of low-income students.
Other benefits cited by the press release include a 7.5 percent increase in funds across the board for community colleges, adult education, and the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. Teachers will also benefit from a 530,000 dollar increase for the Teachers Loan Repayment Program. A program that “provides awards to encourage academically talented Illinois students to teach in Illinois schools in low-income areas.” The effect would increase the number of teachers from 90 to about 195.
Of those 100 potential and future teachers is Ashley Lazaro. Lazaro is a junior at the college of education at the University of Illinois. Her career aspirations, post-graduation, are to go back home to Chicago and teach elementary school in the Chicago public school district system.
“There are many schools in low-income areas,” says Lazaro regarding the Teachers Loan Repayment program. “I hope it’s for more like actually wanting to help the students, not just because of the money.”
In 2020, the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) published a study. The study looked at the 2017-18 school year for K-12 education regarding the relationship between race and ethnicity in teachers and students. What they found was that even with a diverse student body, the teachers tended to be white.
To help combat the discrepancy, Governor Pritzker passed three education bills that would increase the number of substitute teachers by reducing the amount of schoolwork needed to teach as a sub. Another bill related to substitute teaching extended the days a sub can teach in a row from 5 days to 15. The third bill in the package reduced the cost of renewing a relapsed teacher's license from 500 dollars to 50.