From AP - News Local/State -

House Committees Approve Education, Human Services Budgets

The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill.

The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield, Ill. (Nikopoley/Wikimedia)

An Illinois House committee has approved a $6.6 billion budget to fund the state's public education system during the fiscal year that starts July 1.

The House Appropriations-Elementary and Secondary Education Committee voted 9-6 to move the proposal to the full House for further discussion.

Rep. Will Davis (D-Homewood) is the chairman of the committee. He said the budget will fund schools at 89 percent of the amount recommended by a state commission. The proposed funding level averts schools from cuts in general state aid for the first time in at least four years.

Davis said the funding for school transportation, early childhood education and bilingual education will remain the same as the current fiscal year.

Meanwhile, an Illinois House committee has given preliminary approval to a budget plan that avoids some of the large cuts to human services the state has seen in recent years.

The spending plan also pays off the backlog of overdue bills from human services providers.

The House Appropriations-Human Services committee approved the approximately $9 billion plan 13-6 Tuesday. It now goes to the full House.

Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) is chairman of the committee. Harris said the state is able to use unanticipated revenues to make payments that qualify for federal matching dollars.

Those federal funds will lead to an overall increase in the state's human services budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Larger agencies still will face cuts of about 2.5 percent in their operations budgets.