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*** UPDATED *** React rolls in to passage of education funding reform

Tuesday, Aug 29, 2017

* From the DGA…

Legislature Bails Rauner Out of His Manufactured School Funding Crisis

Rauner Cannot Help Himself – Takes Potshot at Final Agreement on Eve of Passage

Today, the Illinois legislature passed a compromise education package bringing an end to another Governor Bruce Rauner manufactured crisis. One month ago, rather than finding compromise, Rauner confidently pushed Illinois into crisis with his amendatory veto of the state’s new education funding formula. Rauner’s veto was a “dud” from the start that had no support from local education leaders. Schools worried they would not be able to stay open come the fall. Even Kristen McQueary, conservative editorial writer for the Chicago Tribune, said Rauner had “botched this one.”

Even in the end, Rauner thrashed the legislature’s agreement late last week. He just can’t help himself.

“Today lawmakers overcame another of Bruce Rauner’s manufactured crises,” said DGA Illinois Communications Director Sam Salustro. “After the legislature overrode his veto of the state’s first budget in two years, Rauner could have refocused his administration towards making progress. Instead he pushed the state right back into crisis by vetoing funding for schools and making demands even Republicans would not support. Illinois families will not forget how Rauner’s failed leadership threatened public schools’ ability to stay open for political gain.”

I’ll post more as they come in. Legislator reacts can be found in our live coverage post.

*** UPDATE ***  Comptroller Mendoza…

I thank legislators in both Houses from both parties for coming together to pass this historic bill to put school funding on a long-overdue path to equity in Illinois. Educators and most importantly parents and children everywhere in Illinois can finally exhale and have confidence that their schools will open and stay open. I have prepared my Office to release an estimated $540 million in General State Aid owed to schools for the month of August as soon as the Governor signs the bill and after the State Board of Education transmits these vouchers to my Office. It is anticipated these payments will be issued within the next few days. My best wishes to all Illinois school children for a safe and productive school year.

* CTBA…

The Center for Tax and Budget Accountability Applauds Legislators for Passing an Equitable, Evidence-Based Model for K-12 School Funding

CHICAGO - Today, a bipartisan majority in the Illinois General Assembly has passed a landmark education bill. For the first time, Illinois will move away from its archaic, inequitable school funding system towards an evidence-based approach that ensures every district in the state receives the support it needs to educate the children it serves. This is a victory for children, their parents, and communities all around the state.

The bill is not perfect. CTBA has serious concerns about recently added provisions that set aside $75 million to provide income tax credits to those who donate to private school scholarship funds. These kinds of provisions use public money to undermine public schools, contrary to the purpose of the broader bill. Moreover, a comprehensive study commissioned by President George W. Bush found that students who attend traditional, K-12 public schools outperform students who attend both charter and private religious schools, irrespective of denomination. However, CTBA understands that governing requires compromise, and it took this compromise to get the needed bipartisan support to pass the evidence-based model into law. That said, this provision will require close scrutiny going forward.

Overall, Illinois has taken a major step forward. Our state education funding system will no longer be an embarrassment as the most inequitable in the country, but a model for other states to emulate. The evidence-based model will help school districts build capacity in their schools, and direct resources to our children who need them the most. After decades of failing our children, and particularly those in low-income communities and communities of color, Illinois is on a long-term path to a more equitable and evidence-based school funding system.

CTBA wants to thank all of the legislators who voted in favor of this bill.

* Sen. Daniel Biss…

“Today, Bruce Rauner used a school funding crisis he created to get even more tax breaks for millionaires and fund private schools with taxpayer dollars. Middle class parents like me are fed up with footing the bill for rich people’s tax cuts.

“I’m running for governor to end schemes like these, and to make the rich finally pay their fair share in taxes. We’ll use that revenue to fully fund schools in every neighborhood, so every child gets the education they need to succeed.”

* Senate President Cullerton…

“The state’s hated school funding formula is finally on its last legs. We are one signature away from overhauling the worst public school funding system in the nation. It will be replaced by one that recognizes fairness and equity and the individual challenges in each school in each part of our great state.

“This ensures that $350 million in new school funding that we included in our budget is prioritized for the public schools and students who need it the most.

“I support this plan because it ensures our schools stay open and that we will move forward with a fair and equitable system of funding public education.

“Keep in mind, none of this would be possible if not for the revenue plan we passed to stabilize our economy and provide resources for public education.”

* Civic Committee…

“We commend the Governor, legislative leaders, and the members of the General Assembly for finding common ground and passing comprehensive legislation providing for more equitable funding for Illinois schoolchildren now and in the future.

In May of this year, the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club released its report, “Bringing Illinois Back: A Framework for our Future.” The document outlined a framework for addressing our State’s fiscal crisis and made other recommendations to improve Illinois as a place to live, work, and conduct business. Among those recommendations, and closely related to the budget, was the adoption of a revised school funding formula to reduce the significant disparities in funding and increase opportunities for a quality education for all students. We supported the key elements of Governor Rauner’s Illinois School Funding Reform Commission as well as pension parity for the Chicago Public Schools. In order for Illinois to prosper, we must ensure all Illinois schoolchildren receive a quality education.”

* Gov. Rauner…

“Today, members of the Illinois Senate voted in favor of legislation that will bring historic education reform to Illinois children and their families. First, I would like to thank Senate President John Cullerton and Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady and other members for working together to close the gap on school funding and making sure every child across the state will have access to the best education.

“For far too long, too many low-income students in our state have been trapped in underfunded, failing schools. The system needed to change. We have changed it. We have put aside our differences and put our kids first. It’s a historic day for Illinois.

“Our leaders worked together to provide school choice protection for parents who want the best education possible for their children. This is accomplished by ensuring that district-authorized charter schools receive equal funding, and by providing families with limited financial resources the same access to private schools. The Tax Credit Scholarship program encourages individuals and businesses to enable families to choose the school that best meets the needs of their children.

“This compromise also provides much-needed mandate relief for school districts and presents avenues for property tax relief. School districts will be given flexibility in how they schedule physical education curriculum and how they administer driver’s education curriculum. In more affluent school districts, this bill provides taxpayers with a chance to lower their property taxes through the referendum process.

“This is just the beginning of transforming education funding. I want Illinois to be the No. 1 state in the nation for education. Nothing is more important than educating our children.”

* Mayor Emanuel…

“The Senate’s approval of SB 1947 is another win for children and communities throughout the Land of Lincoln. For far too long, Illinois has ranked dead last in the country for funding its highest poverty school districts. Now we are poised to reform that inequitable and insufficient funding formula. I want to thank Speaker Madigan, Senate President Cullerton, Leader Durkin, Leader Brady, Leader Currie, Rep. Davis, Sen. Manar and legislators from both political parties who chose students instead of the status quo. On behalf of hundreds of thousands of school children and their parents, we are hopeful that Governor Rauner will act quickly to sign this legislation so schools receive the resources they deserve.”

* Kennedy campaign…

Today’s vote puts us a step closer to funding schools at the state level so that all children have access to the quality public education they deserve, but Governor Rauner and the Illinois legislature have shown a complete failure of leadership by slipping in a veiled voucher program. Our state will never meet its full promise and potential until we rid Springfield of the legislative gamesmanship that continues to undermine our public schools, our children and our economic future.

* Sen. Jason Barickman…

“My goal has always been to put together a school funding reform measure that fairly and equitably funds all schools,” said Senator Barickman. “The Governor’s signature is now the only remaining step to making that happen and replacing our state’s antiquated system for funding schools.”

The new agreement utilizes an evidence-based model to distribute funding to schools, a requirement of the recently passed budget. If signed into law as anticipated, schools will soon begin receiving their state funding.

Senator Barickman was the first legislator to introduce evidence-based school funding legislation back in the spring of 2015. The legislation was an attempt to fix the state’s woefully outdated funding mechanism with a system that sends dollars to where they are needed most, and where the funding has the best chance of ensuring the success of students. Barickman’s legislation provided an alternative to competing bills that preserved the status quo of taking funding away from some schools and redistributing it to others.
Senate Bill 1947 contains an agreed-to evidence-based model for determining how much funding each individual school district needs to adequately educate students, and it then distributes the money based on that data.

“The evidence based model is a strategic approach to school funding that links best practices and data to distribute funds,” said Senator Barickman. “This will provide a transparency to school funding that Illinois has never had, so that lawmakers and parents can see how dollars being spent, and will allow taxpayers to have confidence that they aren’t being asked to contribute more money to a broken system. Plus, this is a scalable and realistic plan that works regardless of budget decisions made by political leaders, and it removes the devastating effect that proration had on so many districts.”

The legislation also contains meaningful mandate relief for school districts, helping them to reduce costs and put more dollars into in-classroom-learning. In addition, it also creates a mechanism to provide property tax relief to struggling families as well as a new program to offer parents more choices in determining where to send their children for the best possible education.

“We finally have an agreement that will offer significant help to all schools, all students, and all families in Illinois,” said Senator Barickman. “As soon as the Governor signs this into law our schools can focus on educating our children instead of worrying about how long they can stay open.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

21 Comments
  1. - RNUG - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 2:15 pm:

    Now let’s get a signature on it so the Comptroller can start cutting checks to the schools.


  2. - anon2 - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 2:17 pm:

    If the Governor is going to take credit for the new $75 million tax credit, perhaps he can explain how the State is going to pay for this expenditure.


  3. - Ghost - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 2:26 pm:

    Cant we just let Mendoza be govenor?


  4. - Ed Observer - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 2:29 pm:

    Biss is not going to help himself with these comments. He put gamesmanship ahead of the vote, when most others clearly did not. Of course the same can be said for Rauner so……….


  5. - Blue dog dem - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 2:37 pm:

    Biss is toast. We went from the floundering four to the terrible trio to the dud duo in less than a week. Who’s next?


  6. - Biss well todo - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 2:44 pm:

    Last time I checked the Biss family is very financially secure. I think the class warfare thing may fall flat with him.


  7. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 2:47 pm:

    ==Biss is not going to help himself with these comments. ==

    If it gets him the CTU endorsement, it’ll help him out a LOT.

    ==Last time I checked the Biss family is very financially secure.==

    It’s all relative, and one of his opponents’ relatives was POTUS.


  8. - George - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 2:51 pm:

    Rauner: “First, I would like to thank Senate President John Cullerton and Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady[…]and other members”

    Poor Durkin doesn’t even get an atta-boy.


  9. - JoeMaddon - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 2:56 pm:

    **the Biss family is very financially secure**

    Have you looked at his tax returns lately?


  10. - Will Caskey - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 3:02 pm:

    Biss took the same position as all other major Dem gov candidates. Pritzker’s running mate voted against it in the House. Biss voted against it. Kennedy opposes it. Pawar (my client) opposes it.

    Perhaps he didn’t help himself but he’s not distinct from the rest of the field either.


  11. - Arsenal - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 3:14 pm:

    ==Perhaps he didn’t help himself but he’s not distinct from the rest of the field either.==

    He had the disadvantage of being the only serious Gov candidate to have to vote on it, though.

    I’m gonna be surprised if school funding is a big part of the debate in a couple months, though.


  12. - Rod - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 3:29 pm:

    But the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability has also said the General Assembly has not appropriated sufficient funding to fund state government inclusive of evidence based schooling. Ralph Martire has estimated the shortfall at around $2.5 billion before the tax provision for private school scholarships was added. So why is CTBA thanking the Illinois General Assembly?


  13. - O - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 3:55 pm:

    You know what this means taxpayers get out your check books


  14. - City Zen - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 3:59 pm:

    So the CTBA pats themselves on the back for the bill they themselves wrote. Well, up until one part they didn’t write, the private scholarships, upon which they paraphrase the same diatribes given by their union backers. Who says predictable can’t be fun?


  15. - Shake - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 4:00 pm:

    Things Get Done When Rauner Stays On The Sidelines Out Of The Way..


  16. - Grid Lock - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 4:40 pm:

    Thank the lord and heaven above Biss wasn’t the deciding vote in the Senate. Our children and their education would have suffered. Will the candidates please stop using our kids as pawns.


  17. - Responsa - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 5:31 pm:

    ==Perhaps he (Biss) didn’t help himself but he’s not distinct from the rest of the field either.==

    And yet, being a statewide issue affecting pretty much everybody one way or the other, perhaps this would have been an opportunity for at least one of the Dem gubernatorial candidates to take a tippy toe step apart from the other Dem candidates’ lockstep messaging.


  18. - Periwinkle - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 8:13 pm:

    Biss has made other tough choices his opponents didn’t have to, like voting for a necessary tax hike that will surely be used against him.

    Vouchers are extraordinarily unpopular among the Democratic base and the grassroots. Good political move by Biss and his competitors.


  19. - Jaxon - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 9:23 pm:

    Perhaps a novice but to me it appears this is a Madigan win (again). His base Chicago wins - no schools down state lose and Rauner faces the flack for adding 75 million to debt and all against privatization of schools will rally. Please opine . I am a newbie.


  20. - RNUG - Tuesday, Aug 29, 17 @ 11:35 pm:

    == Vouchers are extraordinarily unpopular among the Democratic base and the grassroots. ==

    Maybe not. I remember listening to my parents (dad leaning D, mom leaning R, both Catholic) discuss school funding and vouchers some 50+ years ago. They were generally in favor of it.


  21. - Periwinkle - Wednesday, Aug 30, 17 @ 10:52 am:

    RNUG, your parents, 50 years ago and leaning D and leaning R - and Catholic making them more likely to support Catholic schools - don’t really sound like today’s base that I’m talking about.


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