SSenator Steans hears testimony in committeePRINGFIELD – Students will be shortchanged of educational resources and opportunities beyond the classroom under Gov. Bruce Rauner’s rewrite of a landmark school funding reform measure which forces tens of thousands of Chicago children to pay for a pension problem they did not create. Today, the governor issued an amendatory veto on Senate Bill 1 to remove equity for Chicago Public Schools.

“Illinois has treated CPS students unfairly for decades because lawmakers have been reluctant to change a flawed school funding formula that rewards affluent communities and punishes those with high concentration of poverty and lower property wealth,” Senator Heather Steans (D-Chicago) said.

“Gov. Rauner had the opportunity to correct this injustice and enact fair school funding that benefits all students in Illinois. I’m disappointed that today he instead chose to put politics and divisive rhetoric before the needs of Illinois school children.” 

Senate Bill 1, which passed in both houses of the Legislature on May 31, would enact an evidence-based school funding formula that prioritizes funding for school districts that are the least adequately funded. The model uses 27 evidence-based practices that are proven to enhance student achievement in the classroom.

Under Senate Bill 1, no school district would receive less funding than it did in Fiscal Year 2017. CPS would receive about $70 million to implement the evidence-based model.

Additionally, the state would cover normal pension costs for CPS as it does for every other school district in the state.

Though the governor claimed to agree with 90 percent of what’s in the legislation, he had vowed to issue an amendatory veto on Senate Bill 1 so that CPS would lose hundreds of millions of dollars.

“Students across Illinois should have access to a quality education, regardless of their ZIP code,” Steans said. “For too long, we’ve poured money into a broken system that has widened the achievement gap among students and perpetuated a system of winners and losers. It is shocking to me that a governor of Illinois would be willing to punish one group of students solely because he wants to score political points in another part of the state.”

CPS is the largest school district in Illinois and serves nearly 20 percent of all Illinois schoolchildren. More than 381,000 students attended CPS’ 652 schools last year. More than 80 percent of CPS students were considered economically disadvantaged, and more than 17 percent were English Language Learners.

The General Assembly now has the option of accepting or overriding the governor’s changes to Senate Bill 1.

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