Gov Rauner issues an Amendatory Veto of the Education Bill, Sending Education Funding Back to the Starting Block

Springfield, August 1, 2017 – Gov Rauner on Tuesday, carried out his promise to Amendatory Veto the education funding bill, SB-1, that the Gov said was offering a “bailout to Chicago Public Schools” by having inserted into it, $215 million to have CPS make it’s pension payment.

Democrats, like Speaker Michael Madigan, say Chicago is the only school district in the state that doesn’t have the state pay its pension payment, while — according to the Speaker — the state will pay $4.6 Billion to pay the pension costs of other school districts.

Tuesday morning, Sen Andy Manar (D) tells reporters the Gov should continue to negotiate, not veto SB-1

Senator Andy Manar told reporters, just before the Governor’s press conference on Tuesday morning, that the Amendatory Veto issued by the governor would kill the bill just the same as a full Veto.

Aug 1, Gov Rauner tells the media why he veto’d SB-1, the Education Funding bill

In his press conference, the Governor said it was not right to have the rest of the state’s taxpayers make the pension payment that is the responsibility of Chicago.

In his amendatory veto the Governor made a number of changes, that addresses both the $215 million pension payment, and also eliminated the $300 million block grant to Chicago Public Schools, that they receive in lieu of a pension payment other districts receive.

What the governor didn’t seem to understand at his press conference, was that it takes a 3/5’s majority of the legislature to pass a new education funding bill after May 31. During his press conference, he told reporters, the legislature could pass his changes by a simple majority, as if to suggest that a new education funding bill could be quickly passed, and signed into law.

That won’t be the case.

Right now, there’s no piece of legislation to fund education in Illinois.  Before a bill can pass to fund the districts around the state, a bill will have to pass that can garner enough votes to get 3/5ths of the legislature’s approval.

But with the Governor issuing a veto that cuts $215 million in pension payments, and $300 million in a block grant — there is NO WAY Chicago House members will vote to gut education funds to their schools, particularly after they just voted to increase taxes to raise an additional $5 Billion in state revenue.

Now, no one knows when a new spending bill will be proposed, much less passed.  It appears the House does not have the votes to override the Governor’s veto.  And passing a new bill — whatever the language it contains — will require the same 3/5ths vote margin.

The ability of school districts to open and stay open will vary wildly across the state.  Some districts have enough cash on hand to stay open the entire year.  Others, say they can stay open for some months.. or some weeks.  Some will have to borrow against the promise of state revenues, whenever they come in.

What is not known now… is given the wide gap between this governor and the legislature… when will a bill be able to pass that can satisfy both the demands of the Governor and those House and Senate members from Chicago.