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Illinois Senators Override Governor's School Funding Veto

As Illinois kids and parents shop for school supplies, state lawmakers are still bickering over school funding legislation. (Victoria Jordan)
As Illinois kids and parents shop for school supplies, state lawmakers are still bickering over school funding legislation. (Victoria Jordan)
August 14, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- As kids are getting ready to start the school year in Illinois, there's still no funding plan in place to run the school districts across the state.

In a 38-19 vote on Sunday, the Illinois Senate voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's partial veto of Senate Bill 1. Rauner said the bill favors Chicago Public Schools over other districts.

The bill would keep legacy pension payments in place for Chicago schools, money the governor thinks should instead be redirected to classrooms around the state.

"The short summary is, we need to treat all our low-income children equitably and fairly,” Rauner said. "We have low-income, disadvantaged children in Chicago, and in Waukegan, and in Maywood."

The House reconvenes on Wednesday and is expected to take up the school funding bill immediately. Opponents of Senate Bill 1 say the bulk of the nearly $5 billion set aside for schools used to go to districts in need, but instead, special subsidies now flow to Chicago and districts in Cook County and its collar counties.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, called Rauner's veto of SB 1 an attack on public education. He said the governor's priority is a controversial $100 million school voucher program.

"My concern is that we're going to continue to make promises that sound great, that people can run around the state and talk about, without a dollar to pay for it,” Manar said. "Absent of some type of different approach this year to the budget, that's exactly the path we're going down today."

Gov. Rauner and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel have been in a war of words over school funding. Rauner says Chicago schools have been mismanaged; Emanuel says Illinois residents shouldn't have to face new taxes to cover for the state's financial failure.

Veronica Carter, Public News Service - IL