Illinois governor says state ready to help after Harvey

House members had a chance to try and override Governor Rauner's amendatory veto of Senate Bill One, the school funding reform bill that passed both chambers in May, and had strong support from school districts throughout the state. The House is expected to vote on it Monday.

"This is good bipartisan legislation and it addresses the fundamental fact that the right to vote is foundational for the rights of Americans in our democracy", Rauner said at a Chicago bill signing ceremony attended by voter rights groups and Democratic lawmakers. "That's something worth saying today". Bruce Rauner vowed to sign it, even though it contains $150 million more for CPS than the original school funding measure that the Republican governor derided as a bailout of Chicago's mismanaged schools. Second, new state funds will be distributed to ensure that those districts with the largest gap between current spending and adequacy will be funded first. Although school officials have said they will be able to open classrooms for the new school year, many districts have anxious they would run out of money if a plan wasn't approved soon.

The Chicago Teachers Union was fiercely opposed to the tax credit program, saying it would siphon away money from Chicago Public Schools. They fear the scholarships - which lawmakers say would benefit as many as 10,000 students - will reduce enrollment at public schools, some of which are struggling to maintain enough students to stay open.

Superintendent Andrea Evers in downstate Cairo, which has roughly 400 students, says talk of private school scholarship strays from the mission of addressing a public-school funding problem. "It should not be on the backs of taxpayers".

"This was never stated, but they're more symbolically Republican agencies, you know, hunters, fishers, small business people", Scarr said.

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Superintendent Edwin Shoemate runs a roughly 515-student district in the southern IL community of Cobden. It includes educational and tax policy that has not shown to be successful in the 17 other states that have attempted such policy. The money may be donated to a specific school but not a specific student.

Students receiving the scholarships must have a total household income of less than 300 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $73,000 annually for a family of four.

Supporters said the measure they ultimately approved is imperfect, but that it will begin to fix a state funding system that is widely considered the most inequitable in the country.

State Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Bloomington, said the legislation would "restore confidence in taxpayers that they are no longer being asked to contribute to an ineffective and inefficient school funding system". The state then looks at how much money the district is able to generate from property taxes, and directs aid first to districts that need it to reach the spending target. The bill is meant to put new money for education into the state's poorest and neediest districts and to try to distribute education funding more equitably.

Shake off your afternoon slump with the offbeat or overlooked news of the day.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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