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Gov. Rauner Signs School Funding Overhaul

Aug 31, 2017
File Photo by Brian Mackey/Illinois Public Radio

A wide-reaching overhaul of the way Illinois funds schools has been signed into law.

Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the measure Thursday at a Chicago school. He says it's a historic day that will bring "more equality, more fairness and better opportunity'' to students across Illinois.

The Legislature approved the measure this week, after years of trying to fix what's considered the nation's most inequitable school funding system. It allows state aid to be sent to more than 800 schools for the first time this academic year.

state of Illinois

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

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."

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois legislative leaders say they've reached a tentative agreement in the state's school funding fight, but details have not been released.

Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin issued a statement Thursday saying there's "agreement in principle," but wording won't be released until "drafts have been reviewed."

Democratic leaders Senate President John Cullerton and House Speaker Michael Madigan said in a statement that they've reached "agreement in concept."

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.

House Democrats called a vote Wednesday on legislation that incorporates the changes that Gov. Bruce Rauner wants in a new formula for financing public schools. Democrats said they wanted to gauge support for Rauner's ideas.

The governor issued an amendatory veto to a school-funding model he says unfairly favors Chicago schools and hinders state funding flexibility.

State Rep. Bob Pritchard, R-Hinckley, says he is optimistic that lawmakers can reach bipartisan agreement.

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