Forby: School funding for Southern Illinois BENTON - Southern Illinois schools would be big winners under a clean school funding plan being finalized that Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) said he will support at the Capitol on Wednesday.

Local schools would see their state support increase by nearly $10 million over what they received this past year. In fact, Forby said no school would lose funding if the plan manages to become law, which would require approval in the Senate, Illinois House and the governor’s signature.

“No more games. People need to put politics aside to ensure our schools open on time,” Forby said. “This plan fully funds our schools. Springfield will stop shortchanging us and cheating our schools, our students, our teachers and our taxpayers out of the money they were promised.”

As proposed, for the first time in years the state would fully fund its commitment to local schools, and put an end to several years’ worth of the state knowingly cutting back payments to them. This practice was especially unfair to Southern Illinois schools while wealthy suburban Chicago districts were able to cope more easily with the cuts.

Examples of local school gains under the proposal:

Herrin School District would see a $914,000 increase, raising its state support to more than $11.7 million. That’s an 8 percent increase over previous state support.

Marion School District would see a nearly $882,000 increase, which would take its total state aid to more than $9.5 million. That’s a 10 percent increase over what the state provided last year.

Massac School District would get a nearly $576,000 increase to more than $9.1 million in state aid. That’s a 7 percent increase in state support.

Cairo School District would get an additional $522,000. Total state support for Cairo schools would be more than $3.6 million, a 17 percent increase.

Harrisburg School District would see its state support increase by more than $623,000 to almost $9.8 million. That’s a 7 percent increase.

Forby said the deal is too good for Southern Illinois to pass up.

“Every school in the region will see an increase in funding. That’s a plan I can support,” Forby said. “We all know Southern Illinois schools have been shortchanged for years. That ends now. It’s time we got our fair share.”

The Senate plans to take up the proposal on Wednesday.


Category: Recent News

Second Amendment State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) is continuing his efforts to expand concealed-carry laws in Illinois.

Legislation Forby passed out of the Senate Wednesday, Senate Bill 553, would allow non-resident military service members who are stationed in Illinois the ability to apply for concealed carry licenses. It would also allow those who are valid concealed-carry license holders, as well as off-duty law enforcement officials, to carry a handgun while deer hunting.

“I believe in Second Amendment rights and I intend to uphold that constitutional right for the citizens of Illinois,” Forby said. “When concealed carry was first signed into law in 2013, I knew we had a victory. Nonetheless, there is still work to do on this issue. This bill is about continuing the work we started, and protecting the rights granted to every citizen in this great state.”

Forby, who was the Senate sponsor of the concealed-carry legislation that was signed into law in 2013, has been a strong voice on Second Amendment rights in Illinois

.Currently, non-residents may only apply for a non-resident concealed-carry license if they are from a state that has firearms laws that are substantially similar to Illinois firearms laws. This measure would allow active-duty military members to apply regardless of their home state’s laws.

The measure, Senate Bill 553, passed the Senate on Wednesday with a vote of 53 to 0. It now goes to the House for consideration.

Category: Recent News

School Construction grantsA measure sponsored by State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton) that would reappropriate funds from the School Construction Fund and the Capital Development Fund for ongoing school construction and improvements passed through the Illinois Senate Tuesday.
The measure would free up funds for outstanding school construction grants as well as give the Capital Development Board the ability to fund emergency projects.

“We need to ensure our schools have the resources they need to stay up to date,” said Forby. “If schools don’t have the resources to make sure their buildings are up to code, to recover from natural disasters or to enable those with disabilities are access the buildings, then we are not ensuring students have the learning environments they need to excel.”

School construction grants are based on natural disasters, projects to alleviate classroom shortages, and rehabilitate buildings due to safety hazards and to keep buildings up to code for people with disabilities.

“We cannot send kids to schools in buildings that have damage,” Forby added. “This is about making sure our students have the best environment to learn in.”

The legislation would free up funds for schools throughout Illinois, and would make construction funds available for Marion Community Unit School District 2 and Meridian Community Unit School District 101 in the area Forby represents.

The measure, Senate Bill 2049, passed the Senate with a vote of 53 to 0 and will now go to the House for consideration.


Category: Recent News

Forby at Hardin Work Camp A measure to keep the Hardin Work Camp open, sponsored by State Senator Gary Forby (D-Benton), passed the Illinois Senate State Government and Veterans Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

The measure, House Bill 4326, provides that the Illinois Department of Corrections shall operate the Hardin County Work Camp. Gov. Bruce Rauner has been slowly siphoning off workers and inmates from the prison in an effort to sink an already struggling Southern Illinois economy.

“When Gov. Rauner said he wanted to close the Hardin Work Camp, I thought surely he must be joking,” said Forby. “Closing the work camp would be misguided and have a devastating impact on Southern Illinois communities.”

Last August the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability held a hearing to discuss the economic impact of closing several state facilities. The panel voted in favor of keeping Hardin County Work Camp open. Gov. Rauner still moved to close the facility.

“This facility is good for Southern Illinois,” Forby added. “It allows inmates to pay their debt to society while also developing skills, so once they are released they don’t come back. It reduces the rate of recidivism, and that is what we want.

The legislation passed out of committee Wednesday and will now go to the full Senate for consideration

Category: Recent News

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