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Republicans urge Democrat leaders to send school funding legislation to Governor

Even though a state budget is in place, Democrats are preventing schools from getting state funding by playing political games with a new formula that is required by law to be enacted before they can receive the bulk of their funding for the coming school year.  Senate Republicans are asking Democrat leaders to stop manufacturing an unnecessary crisis and are encouraging them to release Senate Bill 1 to the Governor for further action. 

The Fiscal Year 2018 state budget that was recently enacted includes a provision that ties an overwhelming majority of state school funding to an “evidence-based funding” model. However, Democrat legislators are using a procedural maneuver to stall and prevent Senate Bill 1—an evidence-based school funding model that cleared the General Assembly on May 31—from advancing to Governor Bruce Rauner, so he can take action on the measure.

This week, Governor Rauner announced he intends to use an amendatory veto to remove special deals included in Senate Bill 1 that would benefit just one district, Chicago Public Schools (CPS). Democrats amended the legislation prior to passage, in order to divert hundreds of millions of dollars away from 851 Illinois school districts to the benefit just one, CPS.  

Governor Bruce Rauner announced this week that his amendatory veto would adjust Senate Bill 1 so that it is closely aligned with the original ideals proposed by his School Funding Reform Commission – which had bipartisan support. The Governor’s changes would closely mirror a compromise measure, Senate Bill 1124, introduced by Senate Republicans. Estimates based on data from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) show that nearly every single district would receive major increases in funding due to the Governor’s proposed changes.

Republican lawmakers have joined the Governor in urging their Democrat colleagues to stop playing games with school funding, in what appears to be an effort to create a crisis for Illinois schools. Instead, they stress Senate Bill 1 should be immediately sent to the Governor for action. This would allow for work to immediately begin on a compromise on school funding reform that lawmakers were very close to achieving this past May.

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