Start of school in IL in jeopardy because of budget battle

Start of school in IL in jeopardy because of budget battle

The bill, which revamps Illinois' school funding system, was passed in May by the Democratic-controlled General Assembly, which has yet to send it to the Republican governor for approval.

Democrats have passed such a plan through both chambers, but Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner says he'll veto parts of it, because it gives too much money to Chicago Public Schools.

At a stop at Mount Zion Junior High School, Rauner said he could not fully support the Evidence-Based Funding for Student Success Act, the public school funding bill also known as Senate Bill 1, as it now stands. Governor Rauner has called it a bailout of Chicago Public Schools.

Principals of Chicago's schools will get their first look at the budgets for their schools on Thursday, and for the third year in a row, those spending plans will rely on hundreds of millions of dollars that Rauner has vowed to veto. It would ensure that none of the state's 850 school districts receives less than aid that the previous year, and would provide money to districts based on local property wealth and distinct student-population needs.

The bill establishes an evidence-based model that ties public school funding to "best practices" aimed at enhancing student achievement.

An Illinois Association of School Boards official has said that about a dozen districts may not be able to start classes next month if state funding is delayed. John Patterson, spokesman for Senate President John Cullerton, said discussions on releasing the legislation were ongoing.

"When I amendatory-veto that bill it will become balanced, it will be equitable and fair to all the school districts around the state", the governor said.

Unlike all other IL public school districts, which participate in a state-subsidized teachers' retirement system, CPS has its own pension fund, which receives minimal funding from the state.

"It is clear to me today that he intends to use the children of IL as leverage for his political agenda when he could be working out a compromise to accomplish a much-needed and long-awaited reform", Manar said.

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