January 20, 2018

Illinois Senate overrides Rauner's school funding veto

14 August 2017, 01:57 | Darnell Patrick

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The Illinois Senate overrode Governor Bruce Rauner's partial veto that would have cut millions of dollars for Chicago's cash-strapped school district, bringing the state closer to ending an impasse that's prevented aid from flowing to elementary and high schools.

"Every district in IL is facing unnecessary - and unconscionable - uncertainty about how much funding they will receive from the State, thanks to Governor Rauner's veto of a historical education funding reform bill", said CPS CEO Forrest Claypool in a statement. "I strongly urge my colleagues in the Illinois House to override the governor's veto, to provide stability for our schools and allow them to keep their doors open this school year".

The Illinois senate has scheduled a rare Sunday session to try and resolve the school funding reform issue. Override is less certain there.

The Senate voted 38-19 Sunday to reject the Republican's amendatory veto of a newly devised financing formula.

71 members of the House (a three-fifths majority) must also vote to override - which may prove to be more hard, as just 60 voted for SB 1 the first time - or the legislation dies without a contingency plan in place.

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Rather than embracing changes that would have brought greater fairness and equity to the school's funding formula, senators voting to override the governor's amendatory veto chose to continue a long history of state bailouts for CPS. Sam McCann of Jacksonville, also voted "yes" on the override. Governor Rauner used an amendatory to remove a portion of the legislation that he says is too generous to Chicago Public Schools. It redistributed funds and Rauner is promoting that almost every district would get more money under his plan. The district said the spending plan can be revised once the state puts a school funding formula in place.

Democratic lawmakers, who ended a two-year budget stalemate by approving a state budget over Rauner's objections in July, prohibited the state from disbursing school aid unless done through an evidence-based platform, such as the one in Senate Bill 1.

The governor's veto is an attempt to pit school districts and children against each other. "It shows that for years the state has been sending money to Chicago at the expense of the rest of the state".

The "evidence-based" funding model funnels money to those districts with the highest levels poverty, non-English speakers and more.

It would then go back to the drawing board with schools across the state still awaiting their funding.

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