Rauner earns Washington Post plaudits for school choice measure
Gov. Bruce Rauner held off signing Illinois' new school funding bill until "the good guys" got something they wanted, the Washington Post said in a recent editorial.
“Mr. Rauner demanded a private school tax-credit scholarship program in return for his signature, and Democrats ultimately conceded despite union protests,” the paper said. “… Unions howled that the tax-credit program will undermine public schools. But public schools won’t lose any money, and $100 million is a pittance compared to the $8.2 billion the state will spend on public education this year … .”
Senate Bill 1947 passed the General Assembly on Aug. 29, and Rauner signed it two days later. Passage came only after an initial vote failed, a House override of the original funding bill, SB1, failed, and SB1947 was brought up for a second vote.
The Post noted that the scholarship program provides a tax credit to individuals and corporations that donate to scholarship funds at a rate of 75 cents for every dollar donated. The scholarships will be available to families earning up to 300 percent of the poverty line in the students’ first years using the funds, then will climb to 400 percent of the poverty line in subsequent years. Currently, a family of four earning $73,000 per year will be eligible.
“After the state House approved the tax-credit scholarships, the Chicago Teachers Union declared that the ‘Illinois Democratic Party has crossed a line which no spin or talk of compromise can ever erase,’” the Post said. “Sounds like the good guys won for a change.”