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Bennett, Manar, Ammons, Local Superintendents Speak Out Against Rauner’s Veto of School Funding Reform

Senators Manar and Bennett and Rep. Carol Ammons address local superintendents

URBANA, Ill. – State Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign, State Sen. Andy Manar, D-Bunker Hill, and state Rep. Carol Ammons, D-Urbana, joined local school superintendents and community leaders to discuss the devastating consequences that the governor’s veto of education funding reform would have on central Illinois schools.

“Under the amendatory veto, it’s very clear that our schools lose in central Illinois,” said Ammons. “Senate Bill 1 would have ensured that our schools would receive the amount of money they need and deserve to serve our children. Gov. Rauner’s shameful veto would cut funding to over 550 school districts, including those here in Champaign-Urbana. We should be finding ways to invest more in schools, not cutting their already limited funding.”

Senate Bill 1, which creates an equitable school funding plan, would have fixed the state’s broken education funding system, and ensured that every school in Illinois saw increased funding. Despite his agreement with 90 percent of the legislation, Gov. Rauner issued an amendatory veto of the legislation.

“The governor’s veto was clearly intended to hurt Chicago but caused a great deal of collateral damage to the schools of downstate Illinois,” said Bennett. “We must ensure that the formula that becomes law guarantees fair funding for schools all over Illinois.”

Manar noted that Rauner’s introduced changes to Senate Bill 1 would punish schools for enrollment declines, thwart local economic development efforts and bar school districts from claiming voter-approved tax cap adjustments. These provisions unfairly harm downstate Illinois’ least-funded schools the most, including many here in central Illinois.

“Rather than roll up his sleeves and work with lawmakers to solve Illinois’ school funding crisis, Gov. Rauner is pitting region against region, children against children, and education against economic development. That’s not leadership,” Manar said.

“The governor hasn’t put forth a roadmap for success. He needs to tell us how he wants to solve this problem. He vetoed the entire state budget, and he vetoed Senate Bill 1, inserting provisions that would result in higher property taxes in the most underfunded areas of the state. He needs to get serious. We have to solve this problem, and we have a limited amount of time to do it.”