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Gov. Rauner Issues Amendatory Veto on Illinois School Funding Bill

03 Agosto 2017, 06:37 | Bibiana Flor

Gov. Rauner Issues Amendatory Veto on Illinois School Funding Bill

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner flanked by Republican members of both chambers speaks during a news conference during the second day of a special session on education funding at the Illinois State Capitol Thursday

Gov. Bruce Rauner on Tuesday vetoed a sweeping education bill, saying the proposed funding formula that Democrats sent him "put Chicago in line for millions more" that would be "diverted from other, needier districts".

But it remains unclear exactly how much money the city's schools would get under Rauner's partial veto. Rauner said having the entire state paying for those pensions while Chicago schools still receive the grant is "not fair to taxpayers". You may recall 2011, when several Wisconsin and Indiana Democratic legislators attempted to deny their General Assemblies a quorum by fleeing to IL, outside the jurisdiction of their respective state police forces. Either option will be hard.

Ahead Rauner's Capitol news conference, Democrats backing the measure called for Rauner to sign it, instead of rewriting it. Andy Manar, who sponsored the legislation, said progress toward a compromise was being made and called on Republican colleagues to continue talks.

The $36 billion fiscal 2018 state budget the legislature enacted in July over Rauner's veto prohibits the flow of $6.7 billion in state money to schools in the absence of a funding overhaul like lawmakers approved.

The action on the school legislation is the sequel to the more than 2-year standoff between Rauner and legislative Democrats led by House Speaker Michael Madigan that, until recently, had left the state without a comprehensive full-year budget.

The River Bend School District's first full day of school is August 16, according to the district's website. In fact, the difference in education funding between wealthier and poorer districts is the widest in the country; a 2015 report by the nonprofit advocacy group the Education Trust found that Illinois's funding gap between poor and wealthy districts "stands out for its unfairness", with the highest-poverty districts receiving almost 20 percent less in state funds than the lowest-poverty districts. The result was an unprecedented state budget impasse that ended just last month. Enrollment has dropped in CPS schools, but no one has adjusted the funds out of CPS to other districts.

Lawmakers from both parties agree the formula that has been used to allocate funds to public schools is unfair because it forces school districts to rely heavily on property taxes that create huge disparities in per-student funding. But lawmakers have clashed over how to fix it. It also has a section that stated the state would help CPS with pension payments.

Under current law, the state pays for the employer pension costs of school districts outside of Chicago despite the fact that teachers are not state employees. Rauner blasted that as a "bailout" for a "mismanaged" pension system. Within 24 hours of the bill's release, the Governor issued his promised amendatory veto to advance this bill.

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



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