2007 Budget highlights

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Following are other highlights from the 2007 budget:

* $75 million for the Chicago teachers pension fund. While there was much talk about a possible pension holiday, it never materialized.

* $1.2 million to about 40 Chicago schools for after-school programs.

* $10 million to reduce class sizes. Along with his plan to provide universal preschool, the governor has trumpeted this initiative, which covers kindergarten through 3rd-grade classes in schools that are on the state’s academic early warning and academic watch lists. Schools will receive an average of $50,000 per classroom. The grant will be used to lower class sizes to 15, the number recommended by education experts.

* $2,.25 million for the Grow Your Own teacher training initiative, a program that aims to train parents, teacher’s aides and other residents to become teachers in hard-to-staff schools. (See ‘Community groups find teachers in their own back yard,’ April 2006.)

* $100,000 for a pilot program to increase parent involvement in four school districts, including Chicago, suburban Cook County, the collar counties and Downstate.