Bipartisan School Funding Compromise Draws Mixed Feelings From Rauner, Others

Aug 25, 2017

A day after praising a tentative deal in Illinois' school funding fight, Gov. Bruce Rauner is giving it mixed reviews.

Credit state of Illinois

Bipartisan legislative leaders say they've outlined an agreement to fund schools, but details are being worked out.

On Thursday Rauner applauded leaders' efforts on "historic" funding reform. But on Friday he said there's still too much money for Chicago and he'll try to fix problems with "subsequent legislation."

“The bad news is, again, there was an insertion to assist Chicago and its financial crisis and diverting money that shouldn’t go to Chicago,” Rauner said.

He said he does like other parts of the deal, including a more equitable way to dispense money and a proposed program to provide tax credits for those who donate to private school scholarships.

But this key factor gets a big thumbs-down from Kevin Rubenstein, president-elect of the statewide alliance of special education administrators.

"Private schools across the country are looking to make money,” he said. “And so they recruit kids and they tell them that they're able to serve them, and then they're not able to serve them, so they're returned to the public school.”

Rubenstein said private schools don't have to follow the federal disabilities act, and can dismiss a student just because he or she needs extra services. Teacher unions are also opposed to the program. 

The budget lawmakers approved last month requires a new formula for schools to get money this year.

Leaders are scheduled to continue negotiations Sunday, and the House is set to vote on school funding Monday.

  • Illinois Public Radio's Tony Arnold, Dusty Rhodes, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.