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Governor Rauner calls on State Senate to send him education funding bill

Governor Bruce Rauner called on members of the Illinois Senate to send him Senate Bill 1, the education funding bill. Democrats in the Illinois Senate are using a procedural quirk to keep the bill from advancing. If the bill is not sent to Governor Rauner’s desk soon, public schools throughout the state may not open in time for the new school year.

In squatting on this bill, Democrats are taking away critical resources from school districts across the state. When the bill does reach his desk, Governor Rauner plans to issue an amendatory veto that will result in higher state funding for almost every school district in Illinois. The bill includes a bailout of Chicago’s broken teacher pension system, so Governor Rauner plans to amend SB 1 to remove this from the bill and instead provide adequate and equitable funding for students in Illinois no matter their zip code.

The governor’s amendatory veto also will adjust the bill so that it is more closely aligned with the to the original ideals proposed by the governor’s School Funding Reform Commission – which has bipartisan support. These reforms include mandating that the majority of all money in SB 1 will go to statewide school districts serving a majority of students from families with low income. This marks a historic change that will, over time, fix education inequity in Illinois.

“We have a chance to make history and adopt a new school funding plan that, for the first time, ensures all school districts in Illinois are equitably and adequately funded. Unfortunately, Democrats want to turn this historic opportunity into a bailout for the CPS pension system,” said Governor Rauner. “The point of this school reform bill is to help low income students across the state, including those in Chicago, get the education they deserve – not to bailout CPS’s mismanaged teacher pension system.” 

As written, SB 1 is a bailout for the decades of financial mismanagement at CPS. The bill directs millions of dollars to CPS and away from other deserving districts. Under SB 1, as compared to the Governor’s plan, the other 851 school districts in Illinois will receive less of the FY18 budget money while CPS receives credit for a $506 million historical pension payment. The CPS hold harmless includes both the $250 million block grant credit and $221 million for normal pension costs and retiree health care credit. 

“The General Assembly under Speaker Madigan have failed to adequately or equitably fund our schools for decades. It has hurt generations of Illinois children who live in low income communities,” said Governor Rauner. “It’s not right to give CPS more than its equitable share at the expense of other struggling school districts. That’s not reform. It is the same old rigged politics that created this disgraceful system we are trying to fix. ”

A new webpage launched by the governor shows how much more money each school district will receive after the governor issues his amendatory veto: https://www.illinois.gov/gov/SitePages/SchoolDistrictFunding.aspx

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