School funding bill reached Gov. Rauner's desk

School funding bill reached Gov. Rauner's desk

School funding bill reached Gov. Rauner's desk

Illinois' school funding bill is in the hands of the governor.

The stage is set for Rauner to follow through on a threat to amendatorily veto the Democrat-authored schools bill to remove what he is calling a Chicago bailout.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers met over the weekend to try to find a compromise to avoid an expected amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1 by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

The state of education funding in IL is still up in the air, with less than a month before school starts in School District 308. The House and Senate passed the funding formula in May.

Democrats who control the Legislature adopted the plan in May but Senate President John Cullerton of Chicago chose to hold on to the bill rather than send it to Rauner.

If Rauner vetoes the bill and the legislature does not agree to the changes or can not get the three-fifths majority needed for an override, lawmakers worry the process starts back at square one. Schools that can't afford to reach their target would be first in line for the extra state money and entitled to the largest share. He has never revealed specifics of the changes he plans to request, but he has been outspoken about his dislike of SB1's provisions providing help for paying Chicago Public Schools pensions. But when an amendment regarding pensions was added, the numbers were, "finagled" so that CPS was a first-tier district, meaning they would receive more money, according to Batinick.

Seems like a fair deal to me, not to say it couldn't be improved to make it more fair. It's unclear if there are enough votes for an override.

A three-fifths majority in both chambers would be needed to overrule the governor's veto. He said he hoped that Rauner would sit down with Democrats to work out a compromise, but either way he'll send him the bill on Monday. The comments have stoked hard feelings toward the Democratic stronghold among many voters in more conservative areas outside the city - people Rauner must motivate to support him if he hopes to be re-elected.

A major sticking point is how to deal with Chicago Public Schools' unfunded teacher pension liability. If either side fails to vote on the veto, or the two chambers do not agree whether to override it, the legislation dies.

Republicans think the credit for these "legacy costs" is unfair because it would increase the amount of money CPS would receive through the school aid formula - at the expense of other schools. Without new legislation, schools won't get paid.

I have heard no serious discussion of the other alternative: approving Rauner's amendatory veto over the objections of the Democratic majority. A clause in the state budget lawmakers approved over Rauner's veto would prevent schools from receiving state funding without the new "evidence-based" formula in place.

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