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As promised, Governor sends back to legislature amendatory veto on school funding bill




SPRINGFIELD – Illinois will achieve historic education funding reform if the Illinois General Assembly upholds changes Gov. Bruce Rauner issued in the form of an amendatory veto to the school funding bill, his office said in a statement Tuesday. 

“It doesn’t matter where you come from or who your family is. With a great education, you can go anywhere in life and be whomever you want to be. You can grow up, get a good job and provide for your family. That’s why the changes I have made to the education funding bill are so important,” Gov. Rauner said.

The governor's suggested changes are substantial, but they still won't fix the school funding system's dysfunction, said State Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton). 

"Even with the Governor's AV language, SB1 is an imprudent funding formula," Ives wrote on her Facebook page Tuesday. "I understand he is trying to ensure schools receive initial allotments of state funds in August which is why he is willing to compromise and make a deal. He has made important changes to the bill with his AV."

However, Ives wrote, the model is a "misnomer."

"Unfortunately, Republicans bought into the 'evidenced-based' approach to funding schools which is anything but 'evidenced-based' – for example there has to be no evidence of student performance to receive the funding," she said.

Ives said that she has asked for a new run of the funding numbers and a new copy of the formula spreadsheets that includes the governor's suggested changes.

Rauner says his changes will make the system fair and equitable.

“With my changes, our state ensures that enough resources flow to children in the poorest and most disadvantaged school districts across the entire state," Rauner said in a statement. "And my changes ensure that the education funding system in our state is fair and equitable to all students in Illinois.”

The governor’s amendatory veto makes the following changes to ensure an adequate and equitable school funding formula:

  • Maintains a per-district hold harmless until the 2020-2021 school year, and then moves to a per-pupil hold harmless based on a three-year rolling average of enrollment.
  • Removes the minimum funding requirement. While the governor is committed to ensuring that the legislature satisfies its duty to fund schools, the proposed trigger of one percent of the overall adequacy target plus $93 million artificially inflates the minimum funding number and jeopardizes Tier II funding. 
  • Removes the Chicago block grant from the funding formula
  • Removes both Chicago Public Schools pension considerations from the formula: the normal cost pick-up and the unfunded liability deduction.
  • Reintegrates the normal cost pick-up for Chicago Public Schools into the Pension Code where it belongs, and finally begins to treat Chicago like all other districts with regards to the State’s relationship with its teachers’ pensions. 
  • Eliminates the PTELL and TIF equalized assessed value subsidies that allow districts to continue under-reporting property wealth.
  • Removes the escalators throughout the bill that automatically increase costs.
  • Retains the floor for the regionalization factor, for the purposes of equity, and adds a cap, for the purposes of adequacy. 

The amendatory veto also removes the accounting for future pension cost shifts to districts in the Adequacy Target. "This prevents districts from ever fully taking responsibility for the normal costs of their teachers’ pensions," the office's statement said.

The Illinois General Assembly will now be expected to meet and consider whether to accept or reject the Governor's changes. With the likelihood of a total rejection from the Democrat-controlled General Assembly, concerns about funding for the new school year heightened Tuesday. 


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