public school funding

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner put his signature today on a bill that redefines how Illinois public schools are funded. But it also will send overdue money to schools starting up the academic year.

state of Illinois

The Illinois Senate has approved a new system for funding schools that will reduce large disparities between wealthy and poor districts.

Legislators voted 38-13 on Tuesday to approve the plan that passed the House on Monday. Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner has said he'll sign the bill quickly to get state money to more than 800 districts that have been waiting for funding for the new school year.

Lawmakers have tried for decades to overhaul a school funding formula that's considered the least equitable in the U.S.

Courtesy of Elgin School District U-46

Gov. Bruce Rauner has been drumming up opposition to the Democrats' school-funding plan, known as Senate Bill 1, by touting how much more money each district would receive under his plan.

He points to Elgin School District U-46, the state’s second-largest school district, as the biggest winner: That Kane County city would gain about $15 million if lawmakers approve Rauner’s amendatory veto

So that district's CEO, Tony Sanders, must be rooting for Rauner's plan, right?

Wrong.

Illinois General Assembly

Some Republican lawmakers say the Illinois State House of Representatives may not have the votes to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a school funding bill tomorrow.

The State Senate overrode Rauner’s veto with one Republican joining Democrats. But, in the House, the original bill passed 11 votes short of a veto-proof majority. So Democrats would require assistance from Republicans.

State Rep. Steve Andersson, R-Geneva, broke with Rauner, voting to pass a state budget; but he said he won’t do the same for school funding.

A school district superintendent in southeast Champaign County supports Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1, the school funding bill. But Andy Larson with Unit Seven said he was frustrated that the issue has turned into a political game.

“It’s gets really frustrating when we are used as the biggest political pawn out there for everybody to get their own agendas taken care of," he said. 

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