Illinois Senate Back in Session on Sunday to Work on Education Funding

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate returns to regular session at 2 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 13 with the intention of acting on school funding legislation, in the wake of Gov Rauner’s Amendatory Veto of education funding bill.

The governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1, the historic overhaul of Illinois’ much-maligned school funding system, awaits Senate action. Meanwhile, there are ongoing efforts to try to reach a reasonable compromise on the issue.

In a statement, Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton said, “The Illinois Senate will return to session on Sunday to take action on education funding. This is a priority Senate Democrats have been working on for the better part of four years. I remain optimistic that there is a path to a reasonable compromise on a fair school funding system that improves public education across all of Illinois. That has been our goal from day one.” Cullerton added, “One way or another, we are going to get a fair funding system that improves education in all public schools in Illinois for the long term.”

The Illinois State Board of Education is currently working on an analysis of the impact of the Governor’s changes to the bill, and what that would mean in terms of funding for school districts around the state.

Any effort to override the Governor’s veto, or to try to pass a new bill, will require a supermajority, that means 36 votes in the Senate and 71 votes in the House.

The Governor made a number of changes in the legislation, including the elimination of over $200 million that was put in the bill late in the process that would go to help Chicago Public Schools make their pension payment.  The Governor says that money is better spent being distributed around the state to all school districts, as every district has its share of poverty students and those needing instruction of English for immigrant students.

Those who want to keep the payment of the $200 plus million, note however that CPS gets 20% of the school funding, but have 99% of students living in poverty.