“Today is a victory for our schools, our students and our communities. It’s also a victory for compromise that I hope we continue to build on. By working together and in good faith, even when we do not totally agree, Democrats and Republicans have created a plan where every school district wins.
“There is more work to be done. As we move forward, it will be vitally important that the Legislature remain vigilant in protecting the funding mechanism passed. We’ll continue to find much common ground, but we will also undoubtedly face disagreements. Those disagreements do not need to be roadblocks. By continuing to work together, we can ensure all students throughout the state are receiving the support they need to be successful.”
* State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith…
“The Illinois State Board of Education is proud to have supported the historic work of the General Assembly and the Governor’s funding reform commission. Our Board Chairman, James Meeks, deserves special recognition for his years of relentless leadership and advocacy that set the foundation for this new agreement. I would like to thank my staff for working through the multiple proposed models to produce the numbers that made approving a more equitable funding formula possible.
“Illinois’ educators and local educational leaders have shown remarkable resourcefulness and dedication to their students and communities throughout this process. We are celebrating progress today. The evidence-based funding formula takes a historic step toward equity and ensuring every student gets the resources they need for academic excellence and postsecondary success. When the students in the greatest need receive the most support, the entire state benefits. I believe equity in education funding in Illinois is an important step to ensuring our long-term economic and civic success.”
* Senate President John Cullerton…
“This is a historic but long overdue first step. Today, this law ensures schools across Illinois open and stay open for the school year. Going forward, it declares our commitment to fairness and equity in funding public education across our great state.”
“Today’s bill signing should not overshadow the fact that Bruce Rauner threatened schools’ ability to stay open with his reckless amendatory veto and political games. During this entire process Governor Rauner divided the state and once again pushed the state into crisis for political gain. But Rauner’s cynical tactics never received any support from state education leaders and Republicans refused to support his amendatory veto. In the end Rauner’s failed leadership only created more financial turmoil for school districts already suffering from his manufactured and destructive budget crisis.”
* Stand for Children Illinois…
“While today is historic and an important moment to celebrate, we must not let this bill signing be the end of the story or the end of the progress we’ve made on education funding reform,” said Mimi Rodman, Executive Director of Stand for Children Illinois. “The signing of this bill should be a call to action: school funding must be equitable, adequate, and, equally important, spent wisely during the implementation of this bill over the next many years. That is the next chapter and the challenge facing us moving forward. We must ensure our schools are safe, teachers are supported, and parents are engaged. We as a state must stay unified and focused on giving every child the resources and support they need to be successful.”
* Part of Gov. Rauner’s release that’s not already posted above…
Flanked by school children and legislative leaders, Gov. Bruce Rauner today signed historic school funding legislation that puts children first and makes lasting changes that will help generations of children to come.
“The passing of this historic legislation was no easy feat, but it’s a reminder of the good things we can accomplish when we put politics aside and focus on what’s important: our children and our future,” Gov. Rauner said. “I am proud to sign this bill, which will bring more money to school districts based on the needs of the children, guaranteeing that all Illinois students have access to adequate education funding.” […]
Under the compromise legislation, the majority of education funds will go to those districts that have the largest gap between their adequacy targets and available local resources. The legislation also provides 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 offering families with limited financial resources better access to private schools through a tax credit scholarship program.
“This new school funding law, born of bipartisan collaboration and compromise, is exactly what Illinois schools need and deserve,” said Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady (R-Bloomington). “I want to commend Governor Rauner, who recognized that if we’re going to improve our schools and ensure every student gets a quality education, then we needed to work together to ensure all 852 school districts in Illinois are treated fairly and equitably.”
This compromise also provides much-needed mandate relief for school districts and presents avenues for property tax relief to homeowners.
“I’ve said for the past two-and-a-half years that we can make progress on the major issues facing our state as long as both sides respect the priorities of the other, and that’s precisely what happened,” said House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R-Western Springs). “This compromise ensures that all Illinois children will have access to an education that is funded fairly and equitably. It also provides flexibility to school districts and relief to homeowners through lower property taxes and expands opportunities for school choice for children from low-income families. My hope is that, moving forward, this will serve as an example of what can happen when we put partisan bickering aside and negotiate in good faith to get things done for the families of Illinois.”
“This new law finally gives equitable education funding to all students regardless of where they live, making the dreams of our students more possible,” said state Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris), a chief co-sponsor of the bill. “Our teachers and students will gain critical new resources, which will provide for more opportunities. The mandate relief will give better flexibility for school districts. There is also a mechanism to lower property taxes in districts that are overtaxed. This new law is a win for every student now and for future generations.”
“In addition to this law ensuring that new state funding goes first to the poorest kids who need it most across the state, it ensures that no district loses funding and begins to put tools into the hands of property tax payers in those districts that are overfunded to seek relief,” said state Sen. Dan McConchie (R-Hawthorn Woods), who was a member of the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission. “This is an important step in providing both equity in school funding and relief from our fundamentally broken system.”
“For an entire generation of students, we have perpetuated an education funding system that does not send our state dollars to the schools who need it most first,” said state Rep. Avery Bourne (R-Raymond), who was a member of the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission. “Getting school funding right is the most important thing we can do for our children, for their future and for Illinois’ future. This is a good compromise that fixes the formula and gives the next generation of Illinoisans better opportunities for a high quality education.”
“This was a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make our public school funding system adequate and equitable,” said state Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie (D-Chicago), who was a member of the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission. “I am delighted that we in Springfield stepped up to the challenge.”
Senator Manar makes us proud. Yes, no one does anything alone. But in this environment and all the arrows that came his way…this is what the real work of legislating looks like. There is honor in public service. And he showed it.