Rauner Calls Special Session Wednesday To Resolve School Funding Plan

Jul 24, 2017

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is calling lawmakers back from their summer vacation to deal with a new school funding plan in special session starting Wednesday.

Credit State of Illinois

The state cannot send money to schools until a funding plan gets signed into law, which could jeopardize whether schools will start on time.

Rauner wants to veto parts of Senate Bill 1 because he says it takes money from low-income children to pay Chicago teacher pensions. 

“They’re taking it away from the classroom to fund a pension,” he said. “I will never, ever allow that to happen because that is treating our children as political pawns; and we will not allow that to happen. Thanks very much everybody, appreciate it.”

Rauner’s website indicates that he also will eliminate most of a $250 million block grant the Chicago Public School system has received since 1995. 

Democratic lawmakers have held off sending the plan for Rauner’s signature, because he's promised to veto part of the bill that sends more money to CPS.

Chicago is the only district that pays its own teacher pensions; the state picks up that cost everywhere else.

Rauner accuses Democrats of stalling until the last moment.

“They don’t want an open debate,” he said. “They don’t want this to be out in public because the truth is so bad for their position.”

Several superintendents around the state have said they support the bill as is.

Democratic Sen. President John Cullerton said Rauner should meet with legislative leaders, rather than veto the bill out of anger.

  • Illinois Public Radio's Dusty Rhodes and Tony Arnold contributed to this report.