Rauner promises amendatory veto for school funding bill


Changes to school funding has been a topic of debate for decades in Springfield, as IL has the nation's widest gap between low- and high-income school districts, according to the non-profit organization The Education Trust.

That, plus the $505.8 million reduction in the bill's assessment of Chicago's local fundraising capabilities based on its unfunded pension liability, is what Rauner said led to his decision to issue an amendatory veto.

Despite his veto threat, Rauner said Friday "We're going to make sure schools get open and we're gonna make sure that it's done on a basis that's fair for taxpayers all across the state, and it doesn't benefit only one community at the expense of residents of other communities". That would result in a cut of almost half of a $293 million funding boost for state aid and pensions CPS would receive in the legislation, freeing up $145 million for other school districts, according to funding data posted on Rauner's website. "The current state funding model Round Lake has lost over $18 million from 2012-2016", said Constance Collins, superintendent of the Round Lake Area School District 116.

Emanuel has said Chicago schools will open September 5 as scheduled - regardless of what Rauner does.

But the money for school districts is dependent on lawmakers approving an altered funding formula. Governor Rauner has called it a bailout of Chicago Public Schools.

That "exceeds the power of the governor under the state constitution", officials added.

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A spokesman for Cullerton said the legal constraints aren't quite that explicit, and the situation still remains very much up in the air.

He says the 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.

Others said they'd have to cut back.

Any protracted fight in Springfield over school funding would be devastating for local school districts, as the State Board of Education has told school districts that a funding plan must be approved by August 3 for normal payments to be sent to school districts by the start of the fall semester.

The legislation passed both the Illinois House and Senate, but without veto-proof majorities. That has raised the possibility some school districts largely dependent on state funding may not be able to open for classes next month.