Rauner strips CPS additions from school funding bill with amendatory veto
As expected, Gov. Bruce Rauner has issued an amendatory veto on Senate Bill 1, the education funding bill that was held in the Senate since the end of May and sent to his desk on Monday.
“SB1, as it is currently written, does not achieve both fairness and equity for all Illinois students, and it did not meet the expectations of the school funding reform commission,” Rauner said at a press conference on Tuesday. “So that is why I have issued this amendatory veto. You’ll see that with my changes, Illinois can achieve historic education funding reform that is fair and equitable to all Illinois children. With my changes, our state ensures that enough resources flow to children in the poorest and most disadvantage school children across the entire state.”
Rauner made drastic changes to provisions in SB1 that provided Chicago with what he saw as unfair advantages, including a block grant and payments to Chicago Public Schools' (CPS) pensions.
The CPS provisions were the main points of contention for Republican lawmakers and Rauner, who argued that Democrats had created a bill that favored Chicago schools over all others in the state. He had called legislators back to work out a compromise, but the bill he got on Monday kept the CPS additions.
The threat of a veto caused an education impasse and negotiations broke down as Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) held onto the bill since it passed the Legislature in May.
Rauner was “beyond disappointed” that the bill had sat in the Senate for two months.
“Democrats knew back in the spring that this bill did not pass the litmus test for fairness and equity for all children,” he said. “But they walked away from the negotiations table and passed it anyway. And Democrats in the Illinois Senate spent two months using a procedural quirk to sit on the bill, to stall the bill -- stall any real negotiations. Negotiations could have kept up this spring. We could have been negotiating all summer long if there was a sincere desire on the other side of the aisle to have those negotiations.”
The General Assembly now has 15 days to act on Rauner’s veto, which he used on Tuesday. Lawmakers have three options: override the veto, pass SB1 as amended or let it die and go back to the drawing board. No other public school funding bill has been considered.
Rauner urged the General Assembly to move quickly for the sake of the students and schools. Schools are supposed to start receiving payments on Aug. 10.
“The matter now heads to the General Assembly, where I respectfully request lawmakers uphold the changes I have made to the bill,” Rauner said. “We all know that politics can be divisive. There have been a lot of debates in this building since I took office and before that time, too. But education is a unifying issue. Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican or something else, we all know the power of a great education.”