Schools Consider New Test Fee Amid Budget Worries

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) -- State education officials are considering retaining a traditional college-readiness test for high school juniors but passing the cost along to school districts and possibly the students' families.

The move is one cost-cutting possibility after Illinois schools have seen close to $1 billion in cuts since 2009. Educators warn of more drastic cuts if lawmakers decide not to extend a temporary income tax hike set to expire at the end of 2014.

State board officials estimate it will cost $14 million for all high school juniors to take the ACT test next year. They're considering providing the $52.50 test free only to low-income students.

The total cost of state testing totals $54 million next year. That includes keeping the ACT and adding new exams at the elementary and high school levels.

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