Gov. Rauner Calls Special Session on Education Funding Bill

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SB1 would see CPS receive its tier funding, 2018 pension pickup funding and its block grant, while Rauner's plan removes the block grant funding and spreads the money to schools throughout the state. Many more won't be able to stay open for long.

Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin backed the governor in criticizing Democratic lawmakers during the news conference.

Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) wants Illinoisans to reject the concessions made to Chicago Public Schools (CPS) in Senate Bill 1, he said on his website recently.

Gov. Bruce Rauner vowed again Monday to veto part of a bill that would give the Chicago Public Schools $300 million more in state money - and said he would order a special session and demand that lawmakers revise - again - the way schools are funded in IL.

"Separately we should take up pension reform", Rauner said Monday, "but in no way should it hold up our schools opening on time".

The $36 billion fiscal 2018 state budget the legislature enacted earlier this month over Rauner's veto prohibits the flow of state money to schools in the absence of an evidence-based funding model. But the measure also addresses a state funding disparity for CPS pensions, which the governor has labeled a bailout for a badly managed retirement system.

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"The Democrats in the majority are playing political games with our children's education", Rauner said.

Senate President John Cullerton later issued a statement discouraging "expensive special sessions" and suggesting Rauner "end the secrecy" of how he calculates what he says is an improved plan.

He said he will call a special session starting Wednesday if the legislation is not sent to his desk by noon today.

The General Assembly adopted the plan to ensure the neediest school districts get money first.

"The Democrats want to create and manufacture a school-funding crisis", said Durkin, who appeared with Rauner in Chicago. Data posted on his website indicated the bill's $293 million funding boost for CPS for state aid and pensions would be sliced almost in half, freeing up $145 million for other school districts. "They frankly seem like they want to have schools not open so they can force no real rational discussion or debate, just force SB 1 in its current form". "Our schools can't open unless that bill or some other version of it becomes law", he continued. Based on the Governor's figures (which can be found here), many Stateline area school districts would see state education funding almost double. "Send the bill to the governor".

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