Illinois School Funding Reform Hits a Snag

Jan 9, 2018


  Governor Bruce Rauner has boasted that fixing Illinois inequitable school funding formula was his top accomplishment of the past year. But Monday, he struck down a measure needed to implement that reform. Our education reporter Dusty Rhodes explains.

  

Rauner staged a big show when he signed the 500-page school funding reform into law last summer. But it didn't quite match the financial models lawmakers approved, so they sent the governor a short trailer bill tweaking some technical language.

 

Despite that bill's bipartisan support, Rauner responded with an amendatory veto seeking to drastically lower standards for private schools to qualify for a controversial new tax credit scheme.​ Rauner says he's just trying to maximize school choice.

 

But State Senator Andy Manar, the Bunker Hill Democrat who sponsored both measures, says the veto is outside the scope of the trailer, and will just delay equitable funding.

 

"By linking issues that have nothing to do with each other, it's going to be highly unlikely that any new money will be distributed to schools in an equitable fashion this fiscal year," Manar said.

 

Schools will still receive the same state funding they got last year. But that just prolongs Illinois' reputation for having the most inequitable funding in the nation.