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updated: 5/28/2014 4:59 PM

IMSA spared cuts under new state budget

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By Marty Hobe

The Illinois Math and Science academy survived threats of significant cuts to its state funding under the latest budget plan being considered by state lawmakers.

Earlier this month, lawmakers raised questions about whether the Aurora school's student body was diverse enough and approved a plan that cut $1.8 million from its budget, about 10 percent of its state funding.

This week, though, lawmakers passed a new plan that would give IMSA the same amount of money as last year.

State Rep. Ken Dunkin, a Chicago Democrat, said in the past he approved increases in IMSA's budget with assurance that the school would work to diversify.

This year he and other lawmakers were upset with the lack of "economic diversity" and threatened to cut a hole in the school's budget.

"It was not an idle threat," Dunkin said moments after the plan to give the money back had been approved.

Dunkin was not specific on why lawmakers decided to give the money back. He only said they had helped design an "aggressive plan" to help diversify the school.

"We should not be subsidizing the wealthy and their children at one of our public schools," Dunkin said.

"We don't want this sort of elite educational haven for the wealthy," he said.

State Rep. Linda Chapa LaVia, an Aurora Democrat, said earlier this month she was tired of standing up for the school.

"I am getting very frustrated with having to defend myself to my minority colleagues for fighting for money for them when they come to an event there and they don't see the black and brown children that look like them," Chapa LaVia said.

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