Illinois school funding comes down to next 15 days

The Illinois Senate now has 15 days to act on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s amendatory veto of the Democrats’ school funding reform.

A spokesman for Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, said the governor’s changes were read into the record Tuesday. The 15-day clock for the Senate to act on overriding or concurring begins Wednesday.

Rauner said Tuesday, among other things, he changed the bill to eliminate hundreds of millions for Chicago Public Schools teachers’ pensions.

“[Senate Bill 1] in it’s current form basically took a significant increase in school funding that I have advocated for,” Rauner said, “and diverted hundreds of millions of dollars of it away from the classrooms around the state and diverted it to Chicago.”

Rauner said it’s unfair to take money away from other districts to pay for decades of pension fund mismanagement and that lawmakers should quickly act to agree with his changes or they can quickly pass agreeable language in a separate bill.

Bill sponsor, state Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, said he would rather not have a veto showdown.

“We would rather continue the discussions that started on Saturday that have been productive,” Manar said, “and come to a reasonable compromise. We think we can do that.”

“I am calling on the General Assembly to act quickly,” Rauner said, “and support the changes I’ve recommended so our schools can open on time with fair funding for everyone.”

Schools across the state are expecting general state aid in the next couple of weeks.

The governor’s amendatory veto according to a news release from the governor’s office:

– Maintains a per-district hold harmless until the 2020-2021 school year, and then moves to a per-pupil hold harmless based on a three-year rolling average of enrollment.
– Removes the minimum funding requirement.
– Removes the Chicago block grant from the funding formula.
– Removes both Chicago Public Schools pension considerations from the formula: the normal cost pick-up and the unfunded liability deduction.
– Reintegrates the normal cost pick-up for Chicago Public Schools into the Pension Code … and begins to treat Chicago like all other districts with regards to the State’s relationship with its teachers’ pensions.
– Eliminates the property tax extension limitation law and tax increment financing equalized assessed value subsidies that allow districts to continue under-reporting property wealth.
– Removes the escalators throughout the bill that automatically increase costs.
– Retains the floor for the regionalization factor, for the purposes of equity, and adds a cap, for the purposes of adequacy.

Story by the Illinois News Network. Visit ILNews.org

 

Leave a Comment