Monday, August 28, 2017

EXTRA: Illinois state officials (Finally!!!) back education funding bill

It almost has the feel of a pickup game of baseball played by a batch of kids; right down to the do-over.

The Illinois House of Representatives fell short of voting Monday to override the veto of the education funding bill that Gov. Bruce Rauner used his amendatory veto power to alter. But following a closed-door session, the Illinois House came back for a second try – and managed to pass something that finally ensures state funding for public education programs will be provided, as it’s supposed to.

A WHOLE LOT of whining and bickering on both sides of the politically partisan aisle, just as kids are often wont to do when they get stubborn. But this game seems finally at an end.

At least until the two sides decide how they can spin the facts of what happened to try to achieve the most positive result for themselves come the 2018 general elections to be held next November.

For what it’s worth, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, issued his statement at 7:09 p.m., while Rauner’s statement was issued at 7:43 p.m. At least according to the clock on my laptop computer.

Here are the full, unedited, attempts at both Madigan, then Rauner, in trying to claim they didn’t lose the political blather that has been spewed about so much in recent years.


MADIGAN:  Today we saw compromise. Instead of pitting children and communities against each other, Democrats and Republicans came to an agreement on much of what’s in this bill. And even where we don’t fully agree, we’re willing to work together in good faith and meet each other half way.

This bill provides the same promise of permanent funding for our schools as Senate Bill 1, with some additional items included at the request of Republicans. Even if all members did not agree with 100 percent of what is in the final bill, this bill still delivers 100 percent of what schools throughout Illinois need. This bill is a permanent promise of more funding for schools statewide. Every district in Illinois wins under this plan.

Through compromise, we’ve included some provisions that many members would not have supported on their own. But a package that permanently provides more money for Illinois schools and puts us closer than ever to fixing Illinois’ broken school funding system is too important to let partisan differences get in the way.

RAUNER:  Today, members of the Illinois House of Representatives voted to bring historic education reform to Illinois children and their families. I want to thank Speaker Madigan, Leader Durkin and their staff members for finding common ground that will reverse the inequities of our current school funding system.

Aligned with the framework provided by the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission – a bipartisan, bicameral working group chaired by the Secretary of Education – this bill has much to celebrate. First, every district in Illinois will have an adequacy target based on 27 elements brought forth through an “evidence-based model” of school funding. Second, new state funds will be distributed to ensure that those districts with the largest gap between current spending and adequacy will be funded first. Third, no district will lose state funding as compared to last year.  

The compromise includes the much-needed flexibility for school districts through mandate relief, while providing avenues for property tax relief. It increases transparency related to how districts are funded through local, state and federal resources. 

It protects the rights of parents to choose the school that best meets the needs of their children – providing more school choice for children from low-income families. By setting yearly minimum funding targets, this bill also ensures that Illinois will continue to invest in our most important resource – our children’s education.

I encourage members of the Senate to also pass this bill, which I will sign quickly in order to ensure that our schools – many of which have already opened for the 2017-2018 school year – receive their much-needed resources. 


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