Gov. Rauner Calls Special Session on Education Funding Bill

Lucy Bush
July 25, 2017

Gov. Bruce Rauner is reiterating his call for IL lawmakers to send him a school funding overhaul by noon, or he'll call a special session this week to deal with the issue. He says once he receives it, he will use an "Amendatory Veto" to remove language he says provides a "bailout" to Chicago Public Schools for its underfunded pensions.

Governor Rauner wanted that senate bill delivered to his desk, which he plans to return with certain changes.

Rauner dismissed a request by Democratic Senate President John Cullerton to meet with legislative leaders so the governor can make a "rational decision" on the bill. "Our families and students can not wait any longer", Rauner said.

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"Yes, I've been clear we need to amendatory veto that bill", said Rauner. "It's over. If schools want to open on time, only SB1 in its current form, '" Rauner said. That "pill" would put hundreds of millions of dollars into Chicago's pension system.

"I'd like to have a conversation with Governor Rauner in hopes of getting some clarity as to exactly what is going on".

It also includes a provision that prohibits the state from issuing state aid to schools unless it's done through an "evidence-based" formula of the type the General Assembly endorsed in May. We slowed down the process in the Senate in order to let everyone blow off some steam, politically-speaking. Data posted on his website indicated the bill's $293 million funding boost for CPS for state aid and pensions would be sliced almost in half, freeing up $145 million for other school districts. Six weeks later, the governor's temper continues to flare.

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"They want to take money away from our low income kids all around our state and divert it to a pension payment that is just fundamentally wrong for our children" he said.

"I am happy to have all kinds of discussions after the bill is on my desk, there is nothing to discuss unless that bill is on my desk". "Our schools can't open unless that bill or some other version of it becomes law", he continued.

Rauner says it's possible the state could call for evacuations if necessary.

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