Local school officials react to funding formula veto

Local school officials react to funding formula veto

Local school officials react to funding formula veto

Rauner justified his amendatory veto by criticizing the Democratic school-funding measure for "unfairly" diverting hundreds of millions of dollars to CPS at the expense of other school districts, setting the stage for an override fight in the legislature that could play out during the next two weeks.

The governor's amendatory veto changed language to reduce numerous items that favored only Chicago in the bill.

"I was devastated by the news yesterday as we are now faced with making extremely hard decisions on whether to start school or not", Gabrielle Schwemmer, superintendent of Sparta School District 140, said Wednesday of the news that Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed Senate Bill 1 Tuesday.

One of the primary concerns Donkin and other educators have with the the contents of Rauner's veto is the removal of a growing adequacy target, or baseline funding amount, for school districts.

SB 1 also allowed CPS to receive more money by allowing the district to appear poorer than it actually is.

"Students, parents, teachers and taxpayers have waited long enough", he said. "This is a chance to make a huge, meaningful change for IL".

Compared to the current bill, Rauner's version would cause CPS to lose $203 million, according to calculations from his office.

In a phone interview Wednesday, Manar called the amendatory veto a "Trojan Horse" that will hurt downstate school districts and others that are underfunded.

A new school formula is required as part of a budget deal that legislators approved earlier this month over Rauner's veto. The first payment to schools is due August 10.

Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner is expected to use his veto power to remove some money for Chicago Public Schools from a school funding bill - a move that could jeopardize funding for Illinois' roughly 850 districts. It is based on research and is the only fair and equitable solution we have to meet the needs of students in East Moline, Carbondale, Rockford and every district in between.

The commission concluded that IL would need to move away from reliance on property taxes and create an "evidence-based" formula that sent more to high-poverty districts.

Calvert said she has hope everything will work out.

"This is an improvement", Rauner said. Instead, the state will now pay for the annual "normal" cost - the yearly benefits accrued by teachers - of CPS retirements, as it does for the rest of Illinois' school districts. And neither Democrats nor Republicans want to shoulder the blame should the disagreement continue and schools eventually have to close their doors in the coming months. One question is whether Rauner's changes went beyond the scope of what's considered constitutional for an amendatory veto. Jason Barickman ripped the talks as "a charade" and accused his Democratic counterparts of playing political games.

Lawmakers could override the governor, and make SB1 stand as is. Back in 1995, the IL legislature passed a law that provided Chicago Public Schools (CPS) "a certain percentage of state funds from block grants funding programs such as special education". But they've clashed over how to fix it.

So, legislators not showing up for session will likely only amplify the governor's contention that the majority party isn't interested in preventing a crisis and funding schools.

"In the spring, Speaker (Michael) Madigan inserted (Chicago's) pension payment into the structure of SB1".

Nor has he addressed the inconsistency in arguing that the Chicago pension system is undeserving of state help because it is "broken" when it is still in healthier financial shape than the state-run pension system for all other teachers in IL.

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