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Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Proposal Response

The Illinois finance saga added yet another turbulent chapter last week when Governor Bruce Rauner unveiled his proposed budget for fiscal year 2019. Here are the highlights as they impact Latinos in the state: The budget would move $490 million away from education state pensions and put it toward K-12 schools. This results in a net effect that will give K-12 education about $76 million extra for next fiscal year. The problem with this shift, though, is that local schools will now be asked to pick up the pension check and pay millions toward teacher retirement, adding an additional, unplanned expense for these schools.

CAPTION: Gov. Rauner meets with Forum Acuerdo leaders last year in Springfield about early childhood education funding

While the bright spot in the governor’s budget plan is the increase in education funding, the distribution of these dollars is still a major question. Currently, clean-up legislation around School Funding Equity is still pending in Springfield, until it passes, schools will not receive their increased promised revenues. This uncertainty strikes the Latino community extra hard because a portion of those revenues would go to a high number of school districts that have Latino majority student bodies. Another major concern is the lack of plans to pay down the state’s bill backlog, which as of this month stands around $8.4 billion.

The Latino Policy Forum will continue to urge Gov. Rauner and legislators to pass policies that will benefit families, including Latino families. As the legislative session unfolds, the Forum will monitor the following: 

Families & Education

The Illinois State Board of Education’s (ISBE) Fiscal 2019 budget proposal:

The state has an obligation to fairly fund public schools and despite the increase in education funding proposed by the Governor, school districts with high Latino and English Learner student bodies are not receiving full access to quality education programs and policies. Areas in the governor’s ISBE FY19 budget proposals that the Forum would like to highlight include:  

  • The proposed $350 million for the Evidence-Based Funding Formula included is a $29 million increase to Bilingual Education to districts with high concentrations of English Leaners.
  • The proposed increase to early childhood education,$10.5 million, is 80 percent less than the requested amount.

o   ISBE proposed a $50 million minimum increase to fulfill the state’s commitment to the federal government’s Preschool Expansion Grant, which is meant to expand pre-school services in Illinois.

o   Given preschool enrollment disparities, many Illinois Latino children enter kindergarten six months behind their peers in academic measures. By not meeting the minimum $50 million request, the state falls out of compliance with the federal government resulting in decreased early childhood programming.

  • The elimination of Funding for the Parent Mentoring Project, a program designed to recruit and train parents to assist teachers in the classroom.

o   Parental school involvement has been identified as a fundamental factor in children’s academic achievement. Latino parent involvement is often found to be low compared to that of white parents. Eliminating funding for the Parent Mentoring program provides less opportunities for Latino parents to be recruited as aides in the classroom.

FY19 Department of Human Services (DHS) budget proposal:

Gov. Rauner’s budget recommendations for the DHS Child and Family Programs is, at best, mixed. A strong commitment to programs that improve the healthy development of Latino children and the earning potential of their caregivers is crucial for a thriving Illinois. Supporting Illinois’ working families, especially Latino families, through these programs will result in a stronger, more resilient, economy for the state. The following areas in the governor’s FY19 DHS proposed budget are critical to point out and focus on: 

  • The 7.3 percent decrease, which is $89,206 less in funding for the Child care Assistance Program, means that low income families will have less access to child care due to work, work-related training and/or attending school.
  • The proposed $3 million increase to Early Intervention services and support for children who have developmental concerns.  
  • The level funding for the Healthy Families and the Parents Too Soon programs.

o  The aftermath of the two-year budget impasse paired with level funding will dramatically affect the ability to restore full services for programs like Healthy Families and Parents Too Soon. 


The Governor’s proposal for the DHS includes recommendations that eliminate funding for Illinois Welcoming Centers and nearly eliminates funding for the already low funded Immigrant Integration Services. The Governor’s commitment to immigration continues to fall short and Latino families will feel the direct impact from it. The following are programs that the Forum has identified as harmful to Latinos in Illinois:

  • Funding for Welcoming Centers for FY19 has been eliminated and in FY18, the State refused to allocate the appropriated money for FY18, which amounts to $1.5 million.

o   These programs are meant to help immigrants gain access to state programs that connect them to services such as healthcare, childcare, education, labor and employment.

  • Funding for Immigration Integration Services was reduced by 7.37 percent.

o   These programs help immigrants participate in adult education and file to become U.S. citizens. The governor’s FY19 budget proposal further reduces this already low funded immigration service. 

As the Forum commemorates its decade of existence, the organization will be diligent and resolute in standing up for Latino families in Springfield for the betterment of all of Illinois in the coming year. Stay tuned for future developments at the Forum's website.