Illinois Democrats hand over K-12 school funding bill to Gov. Rauner

Violet Powell
August 1, 2017

"In fact, it seemed as if the Democrats in the room were only interested in poking holes in the process, and they had no honest interest in negotiating in good faith to come to a bipartisan agreement".

Now that Illinois Senate Democrats finally released their hold Monday on previously approved school funding legislation, it's Gov. Bruce Rauner's move in a high-stakes game of political chicken. Lawmakers changed the formula during the 2017 regular session, but it's important to note that IL schools have gone without millions of dollars in state funding because of the two-year state budget impasse. SB1 is his fourth try at replacing the state's current school funding formula, known as the most inequitable in the nation. That is a big concern for school districts across IL because they are looking at the August 10 deadline when they need to get their checks cut from the state to help pay for their education expenses.

"I have a hard time believing that the way I believe that the Governor will (amendatory veto) this, that everyone will realize that we need to support our school children", said Brady. "Do the right thing, Mr. Governor, sign the bill." said Senate President John Cullerton.

If Rauner uses his veto to amend the legislation, it would return to the Legislature.

It was unclear Monday afternoon if Cullerton still plans to send Rauner the plan, which aims to make funding more equitable between districts.

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He went on to add that President Trump's press secretary had said he would likely sign it into law. During his presidential campaign, U.S.

Without some funding mechanism in place by then, they won't get the money, which will leave many districts scrambling for alternative plans to finance the scheduled opening of schools. But he's repeatedly declined to specify what exactly he'll do. Both parties worked over the weekend to negotiate on the funding bill in an attempt to avoid the governor's vet.

The Senate approved the legislation with a veto-proof majority, and although the House vote was short of the three-fifths majority needed to reject Rauner's changes, Speaker Michael Madigan has said he thinks there's a good chance for an override.

The governor called lawmakers back to Springfield for a series of special sessions on education funding, but attendance was spotty and no action was taken.

A new formula is required as part of the budget that legislators approved earlier this month. I encourage Governor Rauner to make it law.

CPS is the only school district that pays its own teacher and administrator pensions via the Chicago Teachers Pension Fund.

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