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.
“But certainly when you get down to the pension and the Chicago management rights -- those are bigger issues,” he said. “And that’s getting a lot of attention. But there are a lot of things here that can be fine-tuned to make this a very good school-funding reform bill.”
The Senate voted to override the veto on Sunday. An override is less certain in the House, so Democratic Rep. Will Davis of Homewood put Rauner's veto language into a new bill to gauge support.
Democrats took the changes Rauner made to Senate Bill 1 and created a "replica bill," which they ran for a vote. That exercise was designed to determine what support Rauner would have to uphold his plan.
Republicans cut discussion on the replica bill short. Rep. Will Davis, who sponsored the Democrats' plan, chided them for it. "Presumably you support the governor's amendatory veto," he said, "and this was an opportunity for you to tell us why you support it, if it's that important to you; and you chose not to." No one voted in favor of the replica bill. Democrats voted against it; 33 Republicans voted present.Schools can't get state funding until this issue is settled.
But Pritchard says he doesn’t believe there will be enough Republican support to override Rauner’s veto.
“It’s clear that that is not going to happen," he said, "so, let’s look at getting a bill that will pass and get those dollars flowing to school districts as quickly as we can.”
The defeat of the amended legislation still leaves the possibility of House override. The deadline is Aug. 29.
Pritchard says legislative leaders are scheduled to meet Friday.
- WNIJ's Jessie Schlacks, Illinois Public Radio's Dusty Rhodes and The Associated Press contributed to this report.