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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 28, 2000

Governor Ryan Highlights Illinois Budget Proposal For Education At National Governors Assocation Winter Meeting

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Governor George H. Ryan today highlighted Illinois' $8.45 billion commitment to education and the state's focus on "lifelong learning" during the annual winter meeting of the National Governors Association.

"It's no secret that education is the top priority of this administration," Ryan said. "Investing in the infrastructure of our colleges and universities ensures that our future leaders are provided with a modern environment in which to work and learn."

One of the NGA sessions is dedicated to "reinventing post secondary education in the new economy," a central theme of Ryan's agenda for 2000. The NGA discussion revolved around strategies for "distance learning," the use of technology to expand the reach of classroom teaching and adapting higher education curricula to the needs of people of all ages. All of these ideas are addressed in the governor's FY 2001 budget.

Under Ryan's state budget proposal, Illinois will devote 56 percent of all new general revenue dollars to schools and job training programs. Governor Ryan has proposed a $2.5 billion allocation for higher education, an increase of $155 million that fully funds the Illinois Board of Higher Education's initial recommendation.

In addition, the budget proposes $528 million more for education and workforce programs, the largest education increase ever proposed in Illinois without a tax increase required to pay for it. This investment represents the first time that any governor has fully funded both the State Board of Education and the Board of Higher Education at the amount they say they need to do the job.

"I feel that it is extremely important that we invest in lifelong learning and retool college educators and continue to recruit the top notch caliber of student to continue to improve our schools, and the quality of education our children will receive," Ryan said. "Many states have talked about retooling their post-secondary education system, but here in Illinois we have made it a priority."

Education has emerged as a prominent issue in many states this year. Along with Illinois, many other states are demonstrating a commitment to improving post-secondary education and worker training:

  • Alaska - A $16.9 million increase for the University of Alaska.
  • Kansas - $22 million in enhanced funding for community colleges and four-year institutions to support a restructuring of the higher education system. Community colleges would get $11.8 million to finance operations.
  • Maryland - $1.2 billion to build or renovate higher education facilities during the next five years.
  • West Virginia has proposed to fully fund the state's higher education grant program for students to build on last year's increase in state support for undergraduates. The program will allow all eligible applicants to receive three-fourths of annual college costs.

Here are some of Ryan's FY 2001 budget proposals for education that specifically target higher education and post-secondary worker training:

  • A comprehensive, statewide professional development initiative for teachers is funded at $42 million.
  • Creation of $1,000-a-person "career scholarships" to help high school graduates who don't go to college and learn a marketable skill.
  • Better coordination of the state's 18 job training programs that now operate in six different agencies for a seamless delivery of services.
  • An increase of $39 million for state scholarship programs. The Monetary Award Program will serve an estimated 135,700 students and the maximum per pupil award will increase by $210 to 44,740-a-year.
  • $79.7 million to support and retain the best academic talent on our university campuses, through research support as well as increased funding for salaries.



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