Gov. Rauner calls school-funding special session

Flanked by Republican leaders of the Illinois House and Senate, Gov. Bruce Rauner said he was prepared to a call a special session for lawmakers starting Wednesday. The Democrat-controlled General Assembly passed a major overhaul of school funding in May but never sent it to Rauner, who wants reduce the amount of money going to Chicago schools and redistribute it among downstate districts.

The funding measure was approved in May, but has not been sent to the governor's desk.

"Democrats have been holding this bill since May 31. Our families and students can not wait any longer", Rauner said.

"The right thing to do is get schools open with the appropriate funding". That "pill" would put hundreds of millions of dollars into Chicago's pension system. 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. "What they'll try to do is, as they've done for the last two and a half years, obfuscate, delay, have excuses, come and spin false messages to you after some meeting".

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"I'd like to have a conversation with Gov. Rauner in hopes of getting some clarity as to exactly what is going on", Cullerton said in a statement. The median state funding increase for Kankakee County school districts under the plan would be $56,806. "We slowed down the process in the Senate in order to let everyone blow off some steam, politically speaking". "I'd like the opportunity to make sure he knows what is in the proposal from the people who wrote it so he can make a rational decision." he said in a statement Monday afternoon.

"I am happy to have all kinds of discussions after the bill is on my desk", he said. That has raised the possibility some school districts largely dependent on state funding may not be able to open in August.

Rauner says it's possible the state could call for evacuations if necessary. He declined, when asked on Monday, to explain what changes he would make with the amendatory veto.

  • Megan Austin