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Education Funding Reform

  • 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.”

  • Bertino-Tarrant prioritizes children over private school tax credits

    ed fundingPLAINFIELD - State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) filed legislation to ensure public schools are funded adequately before any state funding is diverted to pay for costly private school scholarship programs.

    “Tax credits should not be given out at the expense of our children,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “The state should not start handing out tax rebates until we correct the disparities created by generations of systematic inequality in Illinois’ school system.”

    Bertino-Tarrant’s measure, Senate Bill 2236, was filed in response to Senate Bill 1947, which includes a five year pilot program that would award a 75 percent tax credit to donors that contribute to scholarship funds for students to attend non-public schools. The credits are capped at of up to $1 million per taxpayer and $75 million statewide.

  • Bertino-Tarrant: Stop playing politics with our children’s education

    willco fakenewsSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) issued the following statement in response to inaccurate school funding numbers being published as fact for Will County in regards to Senate Bill 1:

    “This is an attempt by the political arm of the Republican Party to rouse suspicion and derail years of hard work in reforming the way we fund our schools. The Will County Gazette is partisan pandering made to look like real, honest journalism.

  • Bertino-Tarrant: We need results on education funding reform

    jbt041415PLAINFIELD— State Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is pushing for a solution that modernizes Illinois’ outdated education funding system and properly invests in students and schools.

    “Our current education funding formula has to be improved,” said Bertino-Tarrant, a lifelong educator and former Regional Superintendent for Will County. “Too many students aren’t getting an opportunity to achieve academic success because of a lack of resources in the classroom.”

    Bertino-Tarrant was appointed to the bipartisan Illinois School Funding Reform Commission this summer. The commission has started meeting and is reviewing the current funding formula and looking at how to fairly distribute state dollars to schools.

    It is anticipated that the commission will take a look at past education funding reform proposals and determine what parts should be used in finding a way forward. The commission is charged with recommending changes to school funding by Feb. 1, 2017.

    “While the commission’s meetings are useful, I would like to see results on education funding reform,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We need to do what’s right for our students and properly invest in their education. I look forward to continuing to work with the commission and am hoping that progress can be made.”

    During this year’s legislative session, Bertino-Tarrant voted for two education funding reform proposals, Senate Bill 231 and House Bill 3190. Both proposals were passed by the Illinois Senate but not voted on in the Illinois House.

    Bertino-Tarrant has also voted to increase state support for local schools.

    “I voted in 2015 and 2016 for education budgets that included more money for our schools, but that doesn’t solve the problem that our formula is outdated and unfair to students and taxpayers,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Keep in mind that the Chicago Urban League is suing because the way the state funds education isn’t fair. The courts should not have to step in and address a problem the legislature can fix.”

    In addition to the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission, State Sen. Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) is also convening a group of stakeholders to discuss education funding reform.

  • Children of Waukegan not talking points: Link to Rauner

    link 020217SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Terry Link (D-Vernon Hills) issued the following response to the governor’s press conference today regarding school funding reform:

    “If Gov. Rauner really cares about the students, teachers and parents in Waukegan, then he will sign Senate Bill 1 as soon as it reaches his desk. Under the new evidence-based formula, Waukegan School District would receive $14.5 million more in funding.

    Waukegan School District would receive $919 more per student under Senate Bill 1. That makes it one of 268 school districts across Illinois to actually get more money than Chicago Public Schools, a fact the governor fails to mention.

    The children of Waukegan are not political talking points, governor. Sign the bill.”

  • Documents on ed funding published by governor's political allies (VIDEO)

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  • Governor refuses to meet with Senate President on school funding (VIDEO)

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  • Harmon: Governor’s school funding plan is short-sighted

    Sen. Don HarmonSPRINGFIELD – Senator Don Harmon, an Oak Park Democrat and president pro tempore of the Illinois Senate, issued the following statement today after voting to override the governor’s amendatory veto of Senate Bill 1, which creates evidence-based school funding reform:

    “I voted today to uphold Senate Bill 1, a tested, evidence-based plan that will fix our state’s broken education funding formula, not temporarily patch it.

    The governor’s plan is short-sighted. It may promise low-income districts money in the short term, but it hides provisions that would gravely injure them in the long run, like tying funding to enrollment and counting TIF district wealth as property value.”

  • Hastings outraged at Rauner’s use of misuse of government documents

    hastings 051917SPRINGFIELD- State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) is outraged at Governor Rauner’s administration for leaking false education funding numbers to one of his many political operations.

    Hastings is joining his colleagues in urging the Illinois Executive Inspector General to investigate the misuse of state resources. 

    “Governor Rauner is bringing Washington politics to Springfield,” Hastings said. “Governor Rauner has compromised his integrity, information and is hindering our children’s ability to succeed. All of Illinois’ children should receive a fair chance to receive a good education regardless of their financial or socioeconomic background.”

    The Illinois Senate passed Senate Bill 1, school funding reform, on Wednesday, May 17.

    During the Senate debate, Hastings was informed that the governor’s administration did not have finalized accurate funding levels for school districts.

    However, on Thursday night, one of the governor’s many political organizations starting contacting school districts throughout Illinois with false numbers to campaign against senators who voted in support of giving students across Illinois the opportunity to succeed.

    “This is not the first example of the governor’s misuse of state funds,” Hastings said. “Within the last two months we have unveiled a $2.4 million warehouse leasing deal to benefit his buddies and using state resources for political purposes. What is next?”

    Under Senate Bill 1, schools throughout the state would not see a decrease in funding. However, schools that are not at proper funding levels will receive an increase in state dollars to ensure children across Illinois are given the opportunity to receive a good education regardless of the zip code they live in.

    “This is a clear violation of state law,” Hastings said. “Entities that receive state dollars cannot use the Illinois taxpayers’ dollars to campaign. We need to find who is responsible for attempting to sabotage negotiations to move our state forward and give our children a better future.”

    Illinois Senate Democrats sent a letter to the Illinois Executive Inspector General asking for a formal investigation.

    “Governor Rauner, stop screwing around,” Hastings said. “The children of Illinois need you to stop campaigning and do your job. They cannot afford to wait.”

  • House testimony confirms Senate Bill 1 is best way forward on school funding reform

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  • Hutchinson: “I will meet anyone on the merits. But don’t lie.”

    hutch 051917SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D – Chicago Heights) joined her colleagues in Springfield today expressing their concern with fraudulent information being reported on a school funding reform proposal by a political group associated with the governor.

    “Children in Kankakee County deserve nothing less than the best that we can give them,” Hutchinson said. “When false information is reported by a political group posing as a legitimate news organization in an effort to derail years of work to properly fund all school districts, it’s the children who ultimately suffer.”

    Earlier this week, the Senate passed Senate Bill 1, which will dramatically reform the way Illinois funds public schools. The provision included a “hold harmless” provision, meaning that while some school districts will receive increased state aid, no school district would lose money under the plan.

    This morning, Hutchinson joined five of her colleagues in signing a letter to the Executive Inspector General calling for an investigation into how state documents regarding school funding reform made their way to a political group associated with the governor.

    “I will meet anyone on the merits. But don’t lie,” Hutchinson said. “The information that was published is not even based on the bill that was voted on. In a time of great angst and division in our state, this does nothing to advance the kind of solutions our communities are begging for us to deliver.”

  • Koehler: Governor seeks to divide, not govern

    koehler 053017PEORIA – Governor Bruce Rauner has once again called for a special session of the Illinois General Assembly. The governor has said he will veto a school funding reform measure supported by over one hundred school superintendents and dozens of school districts.

    State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) issued the following statement:

    “Governor Rauner has demonstrated once again that he favors campaigning over governing. Rather than focusing on how he could work constructively with the General Assembly, he calls Blagojevich-style special sessions that only waste taxpayers’ dollars.

    “I am calling on the governor to sign a bill that his own administration says he supports 90% of. It is time to stop pitting one part of the state against the other for political purposes.” 

  • Lightford to Rauner: Austin is a Chicago Neighborhood

    lightford 052617CHICAGO- Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford (D-Maywood) reacted to comments Governor Bruce Rauner made today claiming that every child from a disadvantaged circumstance can receive a better education under his yet-to-be revealed plan:

    “The governor claims he is treating Austin, Englewood and Lawndale the same as Cicero, North Chicago and Rockford in his secret plan. While the details of his plan are unclear, one thing is certain, he wants to take money from Chicago’s children to make his plan more appealing and pit poor communities against each other. And that is wrong.

    “I have worked on fixing our education funding formula my entire career, and refuse to let any child get shortchanged on a quality education solely to appease the governor.

    “Senate Bill 1 has a hold harmless provision for all school districts because we refuse to give any school less, it funds schools based on need and ensures high poverty districts get the support they desperately need.”

  • Lightford: must continue working on education funding reform (AUDIO)

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  • Manar files school funding reform measure mirroring House plan

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  • Manar responds to Rauner administration’s criticism of Senate’s school funding vote

    manar fix 051717SPRINGFIELD – Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill), a widely respected advocate for fair school funding in Illinois, issued the following statement regarding criticism leveled by the Rauner administration today immediately following the Senate’s passage of Senate Bill 1, a school funding reform measure sponsored by Manar:

    “The Rauner administration and Republicans want to behave like this is a vexing new problem that Illinois has never tried to tackle before. The truth is this is a more than 20-year-old problem that we have studied to death, repeatedly debated and willfully ignored.

  • Manar to Rauner: Be an education leader, support Senate Bill 1

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  • Manar to Rauner: Don’t waste taxpayer dollars, negotiate

    manar 042617SPRINGFIELD – Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) issued the following statement on Gov. Rauner’s call for a special session:

    “Calling a special session to address school funding reform is a wasteful gimmick the governor is using to distract from the real issue. The real issue is that the governor refuses to reveal what alleged problems he has with Senate Bill 1 and will not negotiate in good faith.

    “Rather than waste taxpayer dollars on an expensive special session, the governor should meet with the leaders to hammer out an agreement.

    “The governor is essentially asking the legislature to buy a house without inspecting it. We need to know the details of the governor’s amendatory veto so that we can address his concerns in a responsible manner.

    “It’s time for the governor to stop campaigning and come forward with his plan. He owes it to the students of Illinois.”

  • Manar to Rauner: Step out of the shadows and join school reform talks

    manar stmt 072817 2SPRINGFIELD–State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) issued the following statement calling on the governor to personally join school funding talks and bring with him his secret revisions to a historic school funding plan. His comments are in response to the governor’s statement today that there should be negotiations among lawmakers on how to change the school funding plan:

    “Lawmakers have been negotiating. This proposal reflects compromise. That’s how we got this far. That’s how the governor got 90 percent of what he wants. I’m happy to participate in new discussions, but what we need is the governor to personally participate and show everyone what it is that he now demands.

    “We’ve worked with his administration to assemble this historic proposal, but I’ve yet to work directly with him. That’s why we’ve been trying to get a meeting with the governor to make sure he understands what this legislation does, the opportunity he has and what an amendatory veto likely means.

    “As sponsor of the legislation, I am asking the governor to personally participate in these negotiations. It’s time that he step out of the shadows with the proposal he wants, roll up his sleeves and work with us.

    “A veto from the governor only protects the status quo. The status quo is unacceptable. One way or another, we are going to deliver change.

    “If the governor does not come forward to show and explain his threatened veto, I will have little choice but to file an override motion as soon as that veto arrives in the Senate.”