Blagojevich Education Budget

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Despite all of the cuts, the governor delivers some good news for cash-strapped public schools here in the Stateline. Blagojevich wants to give Illinois schools an extra $230 million a year

The governor's budget calls for an increase of $250 per pupil in state funding for schools, which could make a big difference for Rockford schools as the district battles a more than $40 million budget shortfall.

As Gov. Rod blagojevich outlined his plan to tackle a five billion dollar budget hole, he sent a strong message to legislators and the public -- education is a priority.

"We're taking $235 million of increased funding out of Springfield and putting it into local schools where it belongs," said Blagojevich.

The money will inject an extra $6.1 million into Rockford schools after a series of deep cuts and teacher layoffs.

"That is certainly good news. It's money that's vital to the operation of the district," said Tom Hoffman, Rockford School District CFO.

School board members will decide where the money would go, but Hoffman says paying down the district's debt is the best plan.

"We still need to provide quality education to the students. However we still have financial issues to contend with and I think, in the long term addressing the district's deficit is certainly a priority," Hoffman said.

The governor says he will cut middle administrators and state board of education positions to fund the increase.