school funding formula

Veto Override Removes One School Funding Hurdle

Feb 1, 2018
Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

Less than an hour before Gov. Bruce Rauner was scheduled to deliver his State of the State address, lawmakers in the House and Senate voted to override his veto of a small, technical school funding bill necessary to implement the massive school funding reform that Rauner has listed as his main accomplishment.

Jennifer Bertino-Tarrany

Gov. Bruce Rauner has claimed his top accomplishment of last year was transforming the way Illinois funds public schools. But the dollars pledged by that new law haven’t been distributed. Instead, Rauner and state agencies have been focused on implementing and expanding a tax credit program for private schools, added to the bill at the last minute to get the governor signature.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

If you’ve seen Gov. Bruce Rauner’s campaign commercials, you might think the school funding issue was settled last summer. But as often happens with complex legislation, it was followed by a “trailer” bill cleaning up some technical language.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner has boasted that fixing the woefully inequitable Illinois school-funding formula was his top accomplishment of the past year.

When it comes to funding public schools, Gov. Bruce Rauner has wavered a bit.

A few months ago, he vetoed a major funding reform bill, saying it sent too much money to Chicago Public Schools. Later, he signed a compromise measure that gave the Chicago schools even more.

Now he has another bill on his desk.

Carter Staley/NPR Illinois

Illinois’s new school funding plan — approved in August and hailed as a historic change — relies on the legislature to give every school the same state aid it got last year, plus push another $350 million through a new formula. That $350 million is crucial because it’s the part designed to address the inequity that has plagued Illinois schools for decades.

State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Shorewood, wants to make sure lawmakers don't skip that step. She filed a measure Monday tying it to a tax break for those who provide private school scholarships.

One promise heard repeatedly during debate over the state's new school funding plan was that no schools would get less funding than before. But lawmakers siphoned $300 million from a fund that schools and local governments rely upon.

It was part of a separate action implementing the state budget. Vic Zimmerman is superintendent of Monticello schools. He says that fund represents 40% of his budget. 

"We certainly now have huge red numbers because of the divergence to CPPRT and the estimate for this year compared to last year," Zimmerman said.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner put his signature today on a bill that redefines how Illinois public schools are funded. But it also will send overdue money to schools starting up the academic year.

House Democrats called a vote Wednesday on legislation that incorporates the changes that Gov. Bruce Rauner wants in a new formula for financing public schools. Democrats said they wanted to gauge support for Rauner's ideas.

The governor issued an amendatory veto to a school-funding model he says unfairly favors Chicago schools and hinders state funding flexibility.

State Rep. Bob Pritchard, R-Hinckley, says he is optimistic that lawmakers can reach bipartisan agreement.

Jenna Dooley / WNIJ

Schools are still waiting on their main payment from Illinois government, as Democrats and Republicans continue to fight over how to divvy up the money.

The state Senate has announced it’ll take up the matter Sunday, but Illinois already missed a deadline.

That came and went Thursday, when state Comptroller Susana Mendoza said for the first time in Illinois history, her office could not send schools their first round of funding.

Schools are scheduled to receive their first payment from the state for the coming school year in just three days, but that can’t happen until the Illinois legislature approves a new evidence-based funding model.

Lawmakers have several choices:

Jenna Dooley

After the first day of a special session on education, Democratic lawmakers and the Republican governor appear no closer to resolving the dispute that could hold up money for school districts.

    

 

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner continues to demand Democrats send him the funding plan so he can change it and remove additional money for Chicago teacher pensions. 

 

"There is no education funding available for our children, and unless we fix that our schools will not open on time," he said. 

 

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

The state schools superintendent says in a memo to local administrators that the state will issue $5.2 billion it controls even if there's no revised financing system signed into law.

The Democratic Legislature approved a state budget that requires Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner to distribute general state aid through a new “evidence-based'' method to ensure money gets to the neediest schools. But the method is in separate legislation it hasn't sent to Rauner.

"Teachers Pet" by Flickr User Matthew / (CC X 2.0)

The shakeup in Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office could signal a tougher stance on school funding.

The state spending plan requires adoption of a new funding formula, but Rauner has promised to veto the plan that got legislative approval; that’s because it includes money for Chicago teacher pensions.

This standoff might make the lawsuit filed by 20 school superintendents more relevant.  

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

In a maneuver some state lawmakers call a "booby trap," the spending plan approved last week says Illinois can't appropriate money for schools unless a new funding formula also wins approval. It ties K-12 dollars to something known as the "evidence-based model."

Both political parties endorse this model, which is based on each district's demographics. The Democrats' version has passed the House and the Senate; they haven't sent it to Gov. Bruce Rauner, however, because he has promised to veto it.

Flickr User Brent Hoard/ "ECU School of Education Class Room" (cc by 2.0)

The Illinois General Assembly has approved a measure that would overhaul the state’s inequitable school funding formula.

It passed with Democratic support along with State Rep. Michael McAuliffe, R-Chicago. He's the only statehouse Republican who represents a part of Chicago (the city's northwest side).

 

The GOP has labeled every proposed change to the funding formula as a bailout for Chicago Public Schools. But in the end, McAuliffe bucked his own party and gave the bill the bare minimum number of votes needed to pass the House.

Flickr user Brent Hoard "ECU School of Education Class Room" (CC BY 2.0)

Lawmakers of both parties -- and even Gov. Bruce Rauner -- agree that Illinois doesn't fund schools in an equitable manner.

 

But a bill that would overhaul the way Illinois funds public schools passed a procedural hurdle Wednesday with bipartisan support.

 

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

Democratic State Sen. Andy Manar of Bunker Hill is accusing Gov. Bruce Rauner of trying to kill his school-funding legislation.

  

He says the administration fed erroneous information to a Republican operative's website.

 

The story appears in the Kankakee Times, one of a dozen community news organs created by Dan Proft, who runs a political action committee supported by Rauner.

No school would lose money under a new school funding plan filed in the Illinois Senate, but additional payments would range from a few cents to more than a thousand dollars per pupil.

Republican State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, released details of his new school funding plan Wednesday.

The spreadsheet posted on his website shows, for example, that suburban Hinsdale would gain $1.50  per child while East St. Louis (where 99 percent of students are low-income) would gain about $260 per pupil.

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

New information about Illinois senate Republicans’ school funding plan were revealed Wednesday.

One week after State Sen. Jason Barickman held a press conference to announce his own school funding plan, he filed two amendments totaling 500 pages. Barickman’s plan echoes many of the themes contained in a measure filed by his Democratic colleague Andy Manar but eliminates the block grant for Chicago Public Schools​.

His plan also offers school districts a choice about certain unfunded mandates. The two senators had tried previously to craft a bipartisan plan.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers from both political parties seem to be gathering behind a new school funding plan called the "evidence-based model." Jason Barickman, a Republican from Bloomington, announced he plans to file his own version in the Senate.

Flickr user JayMase / "Physical Education" (CC V 2.0)

Yet another plan to address the state’s lopsided school funding structure has been filed. This measure would freeze funding at current levels for all districts, including Chicago Public Schools.

When new revenue becomes available, it would be handed out based on each district’s demographics and needs, giving more to districts struggling financially. Republicans proposed the first draft of this plan, and now Senator Andy Manar, a Democrat from Bunker Hill, is sponsoring a compromise version.

"A Teacher's Library" by Flickr User Angie Garrett / (CC X 2.0)

Illinois House members are picking up education funding reform where they say a commission convened by the governor left off.

Lawmakers gathered Tuesday to discuss proposals to revise the way Illinois finances its public schools. They plan this spring to write legislation to overhaul what many say is an outdated education funding model.

"Courtroom" by Flickr User Karen Neoh / (CC X 2.0)

Chicago Public Schools officials are seeking a preliminary injunction barring the state of Illinois from disbursing education funds until it adequately funds the state's largest school district.

Faced with a huge deficit and an upcoming teacher pension payment, CEO Forrest Claypool said Monday the Chicago school year could end three weeks early on June 1 if the state doesn't come through with funds.

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is forming a panel to pick up where a recent commission left off revamping the state's outdated public school funding formula.

The Chicago Democrat announced the panel Thursday. He says the group will address questions left unanswered by a funding reform commission convened by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner last year.

That commission reported its findings earlier this month. It concluded Illinois must change how it funds schools to ensure all students are properly educated. But it produced no legislative proposals.

Flickr user JayMase / "Physical Education" (CC V 2.0)

Illinois Democrats are calling on Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner to propose legislation based on an education funding reform plan that a commission he convened released last week.

But Education Secretary Beth Purvis indicated such proposals should come from legislators.

Purvis testified Thursday before the Senate Education Committee about the panel's recommendations on how to fund Illinois schools more equitably. Lawmakers called it a step forward but suggested the governor use it as a framework for legislation to keep proposals from receiving a partisan label.

Chase Cavanaugh/WNIJ

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner spoke in Rockford to tout a new school funding framework. 

The governor paid a visit to the Barbour Two-Way Immersion School, which provides instruction in both English and Spanish. After touring several classrooms, Rauner said he would double down on funding schools more equally.

“We are going to change the way schools are funded in Illinois, improve it, get more resources overall, and especially more resources for lower-income schools that don’t have access to the same advantages as higher-income schools," he said.

Last summer, Governor Bruce Rauner asked 20 lawmakers and a handful of educators to change how Illinois funds public schools. That bipartisan commission produced a “framework,” but no actual legislation.

 

That is despite the group’s continual focus on a plan favored by Rauner.

 

Flickr user / alamosbasement "old school" (CC BY 2.0)

A bipartisan group of state legislators has been meeting since August, trying to come up with a new plan to fund public schools.

 

This isn't the first such commission; Illinois has a notoriously inequitable school funding formula, and lawmakers have been trying to adjust it for years.

 

But State Senator Karen McConnaughay, a Republican from St. Charles, says senate leaders hoping to end the overall budget stalemate have inspired lawmakers to find common ground.

 

Despite a standstill over the Illinois budget, a group of bipartisan lawmakers has been meeting more often in recent weeks to devise a plan to overhaul state funding for public schools.

Although Illinois' top leaders aren't meeting to discuss the state budget, members of Gov. Bruce Rauner's education funding reform commission tell the Springfield Bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers they're optimistic that the group will be able to come up with at least outlines of a new school funding formula.

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