- Published: 04 April 2017
SPRINGFIELD — Months after Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed a measure that would have secured funding for Chicago Public Schools, Illinois Senate Democrats rejected his attempt to promise $215 million to the school system without any funding source to provide it.
“This measure would have made yet another promise to Chicago students without taking the necessary steps to ever follow through on it,” said Sen. Jacqueline Collins, D-Chicago. “We already approved a measure last year – which the governor saw fit to veto – that would have addressed this very problem in a responsible way, with the necessary funding. As it is, this is another broken promise in the making.”
Gov. Rauner vetoed a plan last year, approved by the Illinois General Assembly, which provided funding for Chicago Public Schools and included the necessary revenue.
“Just because Bruce Rauner didn’t do his homework doesn’t mean Chicago teachers, students and parents should suffer for his mistake,” said Senator Patricia Van Pelt, D-Chicago. “Maybe he should do his vetoes in pencil until he’s sure of his answers. It would have prevented the chaos he’s caused for our schools.”
“The governor put himself in a position where he feels pressured to help CPS, and the way out is offering a long term solution, not this halfhearted attempt,” said Assistant Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford, D-Maywood. “Our children have a right to a quality education and it takes real commitment to deliver that.”
Democratic members rejected the proposal when it came before the Senate Executive Committee Wednesday. While the measure would mandate the state to pay CPS, it would provide no revenue and no firm date of disbursement.
“What we need is real solutions to make sure CPS gets its fair share of state dollars,” said Majority Caucus Whip Iris Martinez. “This legislation was an attempt to solve the governor’s public relations problems with CPS, but what it won’t do is get more dollars into the classroom. CPS teachers, students and administrators deserve equitable funding, not unfunded and false promises from the Republicans.”
Senate Democrats have included a comprehensive plan on CPS funding as part of the grand bargain legislative package. So far, that provision has not met with any Republican support. The measure remains under consideration in the Senate.