Gov. Rauner Calls Special Session on Education Funding Bill

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 24, 2017

Governor Bruce Rauner reiterated his threat to call a special session over school funding Monday, again vowing to bring lawmakers back to Springfield if they don't send an education funding bill to his desk by the afternoon.

A significant amount of school districts throughout IL would be unable to keep their doors open for very long or open on time, if the state fails to provide them with enough funding. This was after the Senate missed a noon deadline to send to him a school-finance plan legislators approved in May.

The school funding bill - which was passed by both the House and Senate - "diverts money from classrooms" to pay for Chicago teachers' pensions, which have been mismanaged for years, Rauner said. But whether it's the legislation the General Assembly approved to revise the school funding formula or another plan, he wants quick action as the dog days of summer dissolve into homeroom attendance calls. So there's no system in law to distribute general state funding to the state's 851 school districts.

A memo to local administrators from state schools Superintendent Tony Smith, obtained by The Associated Press, points out that the total elementary and secondary school budget is $11.9 billion.

SB1 would change the way IL public schools are funded, by using what's known as an "evidence-based" formula.

Money to get schools across IL open on time hangs in the balance, and Rauner said it's Democratic lawmakers who would be to blame if they don't send Senate Bill 1 to his desk, so he can use his amendatory veto power.

Chicago schools CEO Forrest Claypool announced Thursday that the nation's third-largest district will be open for a full academic year.

"We would work to stay open all year, but it would require our board to make hard decisions regarding cuts and borrowing", Sanders said. That includes a $250 million grant for Chicago, added in 1995.

It also appropriates about $300million in new state dollars to Chicago Public Schools to help bail out its failing pension system. "It is wrong and unfair for Democrats to hold this school funding bill". Rauner said he is all for much needed pension reform, but it should be done outside of the education funding bill.

Rauner said he would call a special session for lawmakers starting Wednesday, and demand that they pass a new bill by July 31.

Cullerton, a Chicago Democrat, said in a statement that Rauner should show his hand. "It can be as simple as that".

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