Republican lawmakers call on Senate Democrats to send Gov education funding bill

Republican lawmakers are urging Senate Democrats to stop playing games with Illinois’ school funding dollars and send the Governor Senate Bill 1, Democrat’s flawed education funding proposal. Senate Republicans say Democrat’s are creating an unnecessary crisis for Illinois schools by using a procedural maneuver to keep the bill from advancing so the Governor can take action on the measure.

Senate Republicans pointed out that if the bill is not sent to Governor Rauner’s desk soon, public schools throughout the state may not be able to open in time for the new school year.

The Governor indicated July 17 that when Senate Bill 1 does reach his desk, he plans to issue an amendatory veto that will result in more state funding for almost every school district in Illinois. Because Senate Bill 1 advances a massive Chicago Public Schools (CPS) bailout, Governor Rauner plans to amendatory veto SB 1 so the legislation would instead provide more adequate and equitable funding for all Illinois students, no matter their zip code.

The governor’s amendatory veto will adjust the bill so that it is more closely aligned with the report issued by the governor’s bipartisan School Funding Reform Commission. The report, which was agreed to by all involved, advocates for a new evidence-based funding formula that recognizes that every student and every school district has different needs and targets new state dollars to school districts that need it the most. This marks a historic change that will improve education equity and adequacy in the state.

A new website launched by the governor shows how much more money each school district will receive after the governor issues his amendatory veto.

Senate Republicans stress school reform is intended to ensure low-income students across the state, including those in Chicago, receive the education resources they deserve – not to bailout CPS’s broken teacher pension system and or pay off the district’s overwhelming debt from years of mismanagement.

However, as written, SB 1 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.

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