* Here we go…
* Perhaps unsurprisingly, this tracks closely with a recent Chicago Tribune editorial entitled “Will Illinois schools open this fall? Stop stalling, lawmakers”…
Enough stalling, legislators. Cullerton should send the bill to Rauner. And the legislature should prepare to return to Springfield, soon, to address his possible veto. […]
What we have recommended, and what we hope Rauner will consider, is vetoing one portion of the bill that gives CPS pension relief. Yes, the state already pays for pensions of every other district statewide, and it’s not unreasonable that CPS should get help too. But not until lawmakers go a step further and curb pension costs for taxpayers statewide: Pass the separate Cullerton pension bill that is sitting in the House Rules Committee, or a strong version of it. The bill would give employees in the pension systems an option to switch up their plans. Create a 401(k)-style plan for new workers. End pensions for legislators. The more reforms, the better.
Do that quickly, and also give CPS its pension relief. That was the deal struck last year between Rauner and Democratic leaders. Stick to it.
The only difference is, the Tribune maintains the bill isn’t a CPS “bailout.”
*** UPDATE 1 *** From an earlier AP story…
Illinois gives governors constitutional authority to use an amendatory veto to make “specific recommendations for change.” But it’s unclear whether lawmakers left language specific enough to alter.
I’ll try to have more on that angle in a bit. Meanwhile, here’s react from Sen. Andy Manar…
“Gov. Rauner should be building bridges with lawmakers so that he can become the governor who finally signs education funding reform into law. But instead of seizing the chance to cement his legacy as a reformer, he’s making demands in front of TV cameras.
“Gov. Rauner promised to overhaul the worst school funding formula in the country to the benefit of all Illinois schoolchildren. He promised to be the education governor. Unfortunately, he is more interested in spouting divisive soundbites than in solving the real problems that grip Illinois.
“Given his repeated pledges to veto this historic and vitally important legislation – despite his reported support of 90 percent of what’s in the bill – of course we are doing everything we can to protect it from his poor judgement.
“Gov. Rauner has never contacted me directly regarding his alleged problems with Senate Bill 1. It is clear to me today that he intends to use the children of Illinois as leverage for his political agenda when he could be working out a compromise to accomplish a much-needed and long-awaited reform. I am saddened and discouraged by his display today.”
*** UPDATE 2 *** Press release…
Today, Governor Bruce Rauner called on members of the Illinois Senate to send him Senate Bill 1, the education funding bill. Democrats in the Illinois Senate are using a procedural quirk to keep the bill from advancing. If the bill is not sent to Governor Rauner’s desk soon, public schools throughout the state may not open in time for the new school year.
In squatting on this bill, Democrats are taking away critical resources from school districts across the state. When the bill does reach his desk, Governor Rauner plans to issue an amendatory veto that will result in higher state funding for almost every school district in Illinois. The bill includes a bailout of Chicago’s broken teacher pension system, so Governor Rauner plans to amend SB 1 to remove this from the bill and instead provide adequate and equitable funding for students in Illinois no matter their zip code.
The governor’s amendatory veto also will adjust the bill so that it is more closely aligned with the to the original ideals proposed by the governor’s School Funding Reform Commission – which has bipartisan support. These reforms include mandating that the majority of all money in SB 1 will go to statewide school districts serving a majority of students from families with low income. This marks a historic change that will, over time, fix education inequity in Illinois.
“We have a chance to make history and adopt a new school funding plan that, for the first time, ensures all school districts in Illinois are equitably and adequately funded. Unfortunately, Democrats want to turn this historic opportunity into a bailout for the CPS pension system,” said Governor Rauner. “The point of this school reform bill is to help low income students across the state, including those in Chicago, get the education they deserve – not to bailout CPS’s mismanaged teacher pension system.”
As written, SB 1 is a bailout for the decades of financial mismanagement at CPS. The bill directs millions of dollars to CPS and away from other deserving districts. Under SB 1, as compared to the Governor’s plan, the other 851 school districts in Illinois will receive less of the FY18 budget money while CPS receives credit for a $506 million historical pension payment. The CPS hold harmless includes both the $250 million block grant credit and $221 million for normal pension costs and retiree health care credit.
“The General Assembly under Speaker Madigan have failed to adequately or equitably fund our schools for decades. It has hurt generations of Illinois children who live in low income communities,” said Governor Rauner. “It’s not right to give CPS more than its equitable share at the expense of other struggling school districts. That’s not reform. It is the same old rigged politics that created this disgraceful system we are trying to fix. ”
A new webpage launched by the governor shows how much more money each school district will receive after the governor issues his amendatory veto: https://www.illinois.gov/gov/SitePages/SchoolDistrictFunding.aspx
Video footage from today’s tour will be available here.
*** UPDATE 3 *** Senate President Cullerton’s spokesman…
There are ongoing discussions about when to send it to the governor’s desk.
*** UPDATE 4 *** Pritzker campaign…
“After holding this state hostage to force his special interest agenda on Illinois for the last two and a half years, Bruce Rauner has reached a new low as he tries to pit school-children and communities against each other to further divide this state,” said JB Pritzker. “Instead of press stunts and shortsighted attacks, Bruce Rauner should stop treating children and families like political pawns and sign SB1.
“Rauner agrees with 90 percent of the bill, but still refuses to do what’s right for our students. It’s another broken promise from a governor who talks about reform, but can’t deliver and has now surrounded himself with a team of radicals who will do further damage to this state. Students in Illinois deserve a quality education and Rauner won’t let that happen because it’s not politically expedient for him.”