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Area parents call on lawmakers to override Governor’s veto on school funding

Sen. Andy Manar speaks about SB1

SPRINGFIELD — Local community leaders and legislators joined together today to highlight the damage to Illinois schools that Governor Bruce Rauner’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1 will bring into reality. The bill vetoed by Rauner would have fixed our state’s broken education funding system. Parents from schools across Sangamon County joined in calling on local legislators to support the Evidence-Based Model for Student Success Act (otherwise known as SB1) in veto override votes.

"Every child in Illinois deserves a high-quality education that gives them a fair shot at prosperity,” said Roy Williams Jr., Chair of the Education Task Force of the Faith Coalition for the Common Good. “Governor Rauner’s amendatory veto doesn’t fix the broken funding formula; it doubles down on a funding model that’s failing our kids. We need to begin mending our public education system, not tearing it down like the governor would with his amendatory veto."

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.”

Harmon’s measure to cut red tape and streamline state purchasing becomes law

Sen. Don Harmon

SPRINGFIELD – Illinois taxpayers, public universities and state agencies will benefit from Senator Don Harmon’s (D-Oak Park) bipartisan measure to streamline the state’s purchasing rules.

Senate Bill 8, which was signed into law yesterday, changes the way state government purchases goods and services.

“This new law streamlines the state purchasing process, cuts red tape and saves taxpayer dollars,” Harmon said. “State universities will now be able to purchase products without having to jump through unnecessary and costly hoops.”

The legislature enacted a series of strict procurement reforms in the aftermath of the George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich administrations because of questions over how they handled contracting, bid-letting and transparency for state business.

But the rules may have gone too far, sacrificing some efficiency and savings in an effort to deter corruption, Harmon said.

“Strict state purchasing rules have created more red tape in government and led to more harm than good,” Harmon said. “Rather than save money for the state, the rules frequently have caused them to waste more money and time than an average business would.”

Procurement reform is one of several measures Harmon sponsored that would streamline government processes and save taxpayer dollars.

Senate Bill 8 is effective immediately.

Cullerton says state’s unfair funding system will be overhauled ‘one way or another’

Sen. President John J. Cullerton

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Senate will return to a regular session at 2 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 13 with the intention of acting on school funding legislation. The governor’s veto of Senate Bill 1, the historic overhaul of Illinois’ much-maligned school funding system, awaits Senate action. Meanwhile, there are ongoing efforts to try to reach a reasonable compromise on the issue.

Illinois Senate President John J. Cullerton issued the following statement:

“The Illinois Senate will return to session on Sunday to take action on education funding. This is a priority Senate Democrats have been working on for the better part of four years. I remain optimistic that there is a path to a reasonable compromise on a fair school funding system that improves public education across all of Illinois. That has been our goal from day one.

“One way or another, we are going to get a fair funding system that improves education in all public schools in Illinois for the long term.”