Rauner’s amendatory veto makes education funding reform fair and equitable

Gov. Rauner followed through with his promise to alter a school funding bill sent to him early this week, swiftly issuing an amendatory veto of education funding reform legislation on Aug. 1. With his changes, the Governor laid out a plan that benefits every student across the state.

Republicans are urging their colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support the amended version of Senate Bill 1, saying it is the fairest option for all school districts and will provide fiscal certainty for school districts that are anxiously awaiting their state funding dollars. However, barring an acceptance of the Governor’s amendatory veto, Republicans say they remain open to compromise and working in good faith toward a bipartisan solution. To date, negotiations have failed to produce an alternative plan that bridges the gap between the Governor’s amended version of Senate Bill 1 and the original version of Senate Bill 1.

With Rauner’s changes to the legislation, all 852 school districts across the state would receive fair and equitable funding. Senate Bill 1, as originally passed by the House and Senate, would have diverted hundreds of millions of dollars from rural and suburban districts across the state to Chicago Public Schools.

Rauner finally received Senate Bill 1 early this week. After repeated urging from the Governor and Republican lawmakers, nearly two months after Senate Bill 1 was approved by the General Assembly, Democrat legislators removed a parliamentary hold they had placed on the bill and sent it to the Governor.

Republicans continue to sound the alarm saying time is of the essence with schools opening in a couple weeks. That’s because an “evidence-based” school funding formula must be signed into law before schools can receive their much-needed state funding.

Democrats, who control the House and Senate, have not yet scheduled a date for lawmakers to return to Springfield to take action on this issue. The burden is now on the majority leaders to act, to ensure schools aren’t forced to close their doors due to the lack of funding.

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