Progress Stagnant To Resolve Funding Formula After Day One Of Special Session

Jul 26, 2017

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.

Credit Jenna Dooley

    

 

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. 

 

House Democrat Will Davis of Homewood said his GOP colleagues are afraid to talk about the plan because of recent changes to the Governor's staff. Rauner has added several staff from a conservative think tank.

 

"And there's a lot of uncertainty there and unfortunately he has put members of the Republican caucus in the House and the Senate in very precarious situation where they really want to work with us,” he said. “They're really scared to talk with us because they have no idea what the Governor wants."

 

It appears Rauner will have to wait for the bill to be sent to his desk. The Senate President said he expects it will be moved over by Monday. President John Cullerton, a Democrat, had been wanting to talk with Rauner first. So far, they have been unable to agree on a meeting.

 

"Because of the mental state of the governor -- he's had a bad month," he said. "I'm just asking for a meeting guys, I'm not trying to be confrontational."

 

Meanwhile, at a press conference in Peoria, first lady Diana Rauner gave a veiled reaction to the school funding plan:

“I’m actually not going to speak about any particular bills, I just want to say that we, all of us, know how important it is that all children have access to high quality, er, education throughout their lives. Thanks.”

Diana Rauner has described herself as a lifelong Democrat. 

  • The Associated Press, Daisy Contreras and Cass Herrington contributed to this report.