Rauner Threatens To Cut Part Of School-Funding Bill

Cheryl Sanders
July 18, 2017

"It's good for Lake County, it's good for every school district in the state of IL, and the new formula will direct these new resources to students across IL who need them the most and need that assistance first and foremost", says Brian Harris, superintendent for Barrington School District 220.

Rauner staged his press conference in Mt. Zion - a downstate village ideal for his message that the Democrats' school funding plan gives too much money to Chicago. "They want to threaten to hold up school funding so schools don't open this fall", Rauner said, "to try to force a pension bailout for the City of Chicago on the backs of IL taxpayers". That is because the amendatory veto as used by Rauner would substantially change the bill's intent to make teacher pension funding more equitable.

"We stand ready to have that conversation". However, Rauner said SB1 is nothing more than a pension bailout for CPS.

An Illinois Association of School Boards official has said that about a dozen districts may not be able to start classes next month if state funding is delayed.

"What they've inserted into it is a pension bailout for Chicago that's going to cost hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars every year to the taxpayers of IL - money that could and should go to the school districts around the state of IL". "Chicago will not get the money, Decatur is going to get the money". That means each district would get money depending on the needs of students. $1.6 million per year.

The governor says the Democrats' plan gives too much to Chicago at the expense of other districts.

Emanuel has said Chicago schools will open September 5 as scheduled - regardless of what Rauner does. Meanwhile, CPS contended Rauner's intended action on the bill would exceed the veto power afforded governors under the Illinois Constitution.

"This is an opportunity to achieve a goal that has eluded governors of both parties for decades and do right by students across the state, not to exert leverage - and it's unfortunate the governor once again seems inclined to pursue the political path rather than the productive one", said Emanuel spokesman Matt McGrath. While CPS schools will open on time, there are others threatening not to open unless SB 1 is signed into law.

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