Ill. State of the State
7:59 am
Fri January 27, 2012

Quinn to call for higher dropout age in Ill.

Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Amanda Vinicky was used in this story.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will endorse legislation in his State of the State address next week that would raise Illinois' high school dropout age to 18, according to a statement from the Democrat's office.

The proposal would answer a call from fellow Democrat Barack Obama, who in his State of the Union address on Tuesday urged states to keep students in high school long enough for them to get their diploma.

"Every child in Illinois deserves a quality education that will serve them throughout their lives," Quinn said in the statement. "The best way to ensure that our children have the chance to achieve and succeed is to make sure they stay in school long enough to earn their diploma." Currently, students in Illinois can drop out at 17.

Quinn may also reveal details about the state's budget in his address on Wednesday. He'll present his spending plan for Illinois in a separate address, but a new state law requires  Quinn to give a three-year projection, which shows the governor plans to cut most state agencies by about 9 percent.

"It's difficult, but everyone realizes that there's not enough money to go around, so big reductions do have to be made," said Kelly Kraft, Quinn's assistant budget director. She says the administration has talked with departments about how they'll adjust to the lower funding.