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Illinois Schools Teaching More Poor, Homeless Students Than Ever Before

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) – The percent of Illinois students who are homeless or living in poverty has grown in recent years.

In a release Wednesday, the Illinois State Board of Education says the spike in low-income students and those with limited English has led to increased costs for school districts.

But state funding for education has decreased by more than $861 million, or nearly 12 percent, since the budget year that started in July 2008.

The information comes as Gov. Pat Quinn is proposing another $400 million in cuts for elementary, secondary and higher education next year. Quinn says the proposed cut is painful but necessary because lawmakers haven’t fixed the state’s multibillion-dollar pension problem.

The board says between 2003 and 2012, the proportion of low-income students grew from 37.9 to 49 percent.

The growth in low-income students has occurred in all geographic regions of the state, as the table below demonstrates.

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*Note the sums represented in this chart under “poverty claim” are in the millions for total of more than $1.7 billion.

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