Chicago schools again get huge funding preference, GOP alleges
Education funding legislation was hijacked in the final days of the spring session to provide million of dollars in extra spending to Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the Illinois Republican Party argued in a press release recently.
However, although the Senate and House have passed the measure, it has not advanced to Gov. Bruce Rauner, as of mid-July. Rauner has threatened to veto the bill, and unlike the case with the budget, it appears unlikely that the House would have the votes to override. When it passed the House, the bill garnered 60 votes; it would need 71 to overcome a veto.
GOP spokesperson Aaron DeGroot slammed House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) for an amendment to Senate Bill 1 that changes the formula by which Illinois’ public school are funded to an evidence-based model. The new formula contains two tiers based on school needs, and through House Amendment 1, CPS is pushed into a tier that gives it priority in new school funding.
According to DeGroot, SB1 recommends $705 million in additional spending for prekindergarten through 12th grade schools. With the House amendment in place, CPS would receive $494 million of that amount, or 70 percent. The remaining 30 percent would go to the state’s 851 other school districts, which collectively teach 77 percent of Illinois’ students.
“Supporters of the final version of Senate Bill 1 voted for a massive bailout of Chicago Public Schools at the expense of Illinois schoolchildren outside the City of Chicago,” DeGroot said in the statement. “Plain and simple.”