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State

Illinois State Board asks for more school funding

SPRINGFIELD (AP) — The Illinois State Board of Education wants lawmakers to increase funding for schools by $874 million next year.

The board voted Thursday to recommend the 13.4 percent increase.

Finance Committee Chairman Jim Baumann says school districts are in "dire, dire straits," with 67 percent of districts in deficit spending. He says more than 6,400 teachers have been laid off and class sizes have grown in recent years as school funding has been cut.

But an increase in funding for education is unlikely.

Illinois is in the midst of a massive budget crisis, in part because lawmakers haven't reached a deal on pension reform.

Gov. Pat Quinn's office released budget projections earlier this month. They estimated school funding would be cut by $400 million in the next fiscal year.

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