Rauner’s team said Tuesday that the governor will use the budget speech to call on lawmakers to send him another stand-alone bill that spends even more on schools and early childhood education.
“No matter how this session unfolds, send that education bill to my desk — clean, no games — and I’ll sign it immediately,” Rauner plans to say.
That request signals a continuation of the political positioning that’s dominated the last year. But as Rauner and Democrats continue to bicker, social service groups and colleges and universities remain caught in the middle.
* Here’s a preview of his remarks on this topic…
We must make the education of our children our top priority. The one thing I won’t back down on – the one thing that’s non-negotiable for me – is increasing education funding.
That is why Leader Durkin and Leader Radogno will be introducing a standalone appropriations bill for early childhood education and our K-12 schools.
No matter how this session unfolds send that education bill to my desk – CLEAN – NO GAMES – and I’ll sign it immediately…
Our budget for early childhood education increases state support by $75 million, a nearly 25 percent increase…
The $393 million this budget proposes investing in early childhood education is the most in state history – and will allow us to make giant strides towards ensuring every child in Illinois enters Kindergarten with a chance to succeed.
Our budget also proposes fully funding the General State Aid foundation level for the first time in seven years.
This will mark the most state money we’ve ever invested in our school funding formula and eliminate the need for any proration – a practice that has forced teachers, administrators and school boards to make cuts that negatively impact our kids.
We must fully fund this foundation level as a first step toward reforming our school funding formula.
I understand that the formula we currently use to fund our schools does not adequately meet the needs of all our children. Efforts to reform the funding formula in the past didn’t work because they pitted communities against each other…
To achieve formula changes, we must increase state support for education so that no community sees state funding taken away during the transition. I pledge to work with you on this issue to find a bipartisan way forward. But much like our larger discussion about the budget and reforms in the days ahead, nothing should delay the General Assembly from funding early childhood education and K-12 schools for the coming fiscal year.
I restate my request — send me that appropriations bill right away – CLEAN – NO GAMES – to give our schoolchildren and parents the security of knowing that education is our shared priority.
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* But right on cue…
With Gov. Bruce Rauner set to deliver a new budget plan to lawmakers Wednesday, several suburban school leaders appeared in Springfield to urge state officials not to cut their funding.
Their testimony before a House committee Tuesday echoes a debate over how Illinois pays for schools that has raged for decades, with lawmakers trying to find a way to send more money to downstate and Chicago schools that often have less property wealth and spend less per student than in the suburbs.
Democratic Illinois Senate President John Cullerton has sought to make school funding changes a priority in the state’s ongoing budget battle.
Schaumburg Elementary District 54 Superintendent Andrew DuRoss argued the state should spend more on education, enough to help schools that have less money without taking state resources away from suburban schools that have the means to spend more.