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updated: 5/31/2013 11:30 AM

Illinois House gives final OK to new education budget

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois House has given final approval to a new state budget for education.

The legislation avoids cuts to elementary and secondary education and colleges and universities for the first time in several years.

It also maintains funding for bilingual education, early childhood and transportation.

But elementary and secondary school districts still will receive only 89 percent of what state statute says they should get in general state aid.

The budget bills approved Friday now go to Gov. Pat Quinn.

They are part of a $35.4 billion budget package for the fiscal year that starts July 1. The Senate is expected to approve the final pieces of legislation Friday.

Democrats who drafted the budget say it's a responsible spending plan. Republicans criticize it for increasing spending and including "pork" projects.

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