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Rauner Demands School Funding Bill Now
19 July 2017, 12:33 | Colleen Roy
Illinois finally has budget in place, but school funding for 2017-18 still uncertain
After the firings, a number of staff members have resigned because of Rauner relying on the Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative think tank, former staff members told Politico.
The Senate has been holding the bill since May 31, when Chicago state Sen.
Speaking in Mount Zion on Monday, Rauner maintained Senate Democrats are using a procedural quirk to keep the bill from advancing. Rauner warned that if the bill doesn't get to his desk soon, schools may not open as scheduled in the fall.
Principals of Chicago's schools will get their first look at the budgets for their schools on Thursday, and for the third year in a row, those spending plans will rely on hundreds of millions of dollars that Rauner has vowed to veto.
Rauner and the Democrats agree on the legislative goal of providing more state aid to the neediest districts and less to the more affluent districts. It would ensure that none of the state's 850 school districts receives less than aid that the previous year, and would provide money to districts based on local property wealth and distinct student-population needs.
John Patterson, spokesman for Senate President John Cullerton, said discussions on releasing the legislation were ongoing.
Rauner said he planned to issue an amendatory veto that would remove the $300 million the legislation would send to CPS to cover current and past due pension payments, which amounts to a "bailout of Chicago's broken teacher pension system" the governor's office said would take "away critical resources from school districts across the state".
"Rauner put his re-election campaign ahead of Illinois' students", DGA Illinois communications director Sam Salustro said. With 67 Democrats in the House, Madigan would need four Republicans to override Rauner. "I am saddened and discouraged by his display today".
Changes to the state's school funding formula have been a topic of debate for decades in Springfield, as IL has the nation's widest gap between low- and high-income school districts, according to the nonprofit organization The Education Trust.
When Rauner embarked on his budget showdown with Madigan and Cullerton in spring 2015, the governor indicated "crisis creates opportunity", and he said he'd use "leverage" gained to win approval of his economic agenda. If companion legislation providing $215 million in pension help became law, CPS would see a net increase of around $177 million in state funding.
Bill advocates say this will put CPS on equal footing with other IL school districts who get pension funding from the state. "Unfortunately, Democrats want to turn this historic opportunity into a bailout for the CPS pension system", Rauner said.
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