The Latest: Illinois leaders react to $600M university fix

AP News
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Posted: Apr 22, 2016 1:49 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Latest on the Illinois' plan to fund higher education (all times local):

12:30 p.m.

Illinois legislative leaders are praising a short-term plan to help struggling universities during the budget impasse, though both sides are bickering about its meaning and how to move forward.

Lawmakers approved a $600 million higher education fix Friday as the budget impasse between Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats who control the Legislature reaches its tenth month. Already, some universities have had layoffs, and Chicago State University had expected to close its doors.

Rauner is expected to sign the measure, which provides a one-time infusion of money thanks to a surplus in a state education fund. It'll likely take weeks for the money to reach universities.

House Speaker Michael Madigan says the funding fix isn't a solution, but emergency relief for those in need. He accuses Rauner of creating the situation and says he hopes Rauner approves human services funding too.

Senate Republican Leader Christine Radogno (ruh-DOHN'-yoh) says the plan is a model because Illinois has the money and the situation is a "reset in budgeting."

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11:45 a.m.

Illinois lawmakers have approved a $600 million short-term funding infusion for higher education institutions that have been struggling financially due to not receiving state money during the state budget impasse.

The Senate unanimously approved the deal Friday after House members voted for it 106-2.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is expected to sign the bill. He issued a statement through his spokeswoman that praised lawmakers in the Democrat-led chambers for putting "aside political differences" to provide emergency assistance for colleges and universities.

Rauner and legislative Democrats have been deadlocked on a spending plan for the fiscal year that began July 1, which has led some state universities to institute layoffs and cutbacks. Chicago State University is on the verge of closing.

Money for the education fix is possible because of a surplus in the state's Education Assistance Fund. The funding proposal also has nearly $170 million in tuition grants for low-income students.

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The legislation is SB2059.

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11:15 a.m.

The Illinois House has approved a $600 million short-term funding fix for financially struggling colleges and universities that have been without funding during the state budget stalemate.

The rare bipartisan deal was overwhelmingly approved on a 106-2 vote Friday. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is expected to sign the bill if it clears the Senate.

The bill comes at a critical time for Chicago State University, which is on the verge of closing its doors.

Democratic state Rep. Jack Franks, who voted no on the bill, says he prefers a full resolution to the budget that should've taken effect July 1.

Money for the bill is possible because of a surplus in the state's Education Assistance Fund. The funding proposal also has nearly $170 million in tuition grants for low-income students.