Today, Gov. Bruce Rauner issued an amendatory veto to Senate Bill 1, the school funding bill. The matter now heads to the Illinois General Assembly, where the governor has respectfully requested that lawmakers uphold his changes. If these changes are upheld, Illinois will achieve historic education funding reform.
“It doesn’t matter where you come from or who your family is. With a great education, you can go anywhere in life and be whomever you want to be. You can grow up, get a good job and provide for your family. That’s why the changes I have made to the education funding bill are so important,” Gov. Rauner said. “With my changes, our state ensures that enough resources flow to children in the poorest and most disadvantaged school districts across the entire state. And my changes ensure that the education funding system in our state is fair and equitable to all students in Illinois.”
More than a year ago, Gov. Rauner established the Illinois School Funding Reform Commission. This group came together on a bipartisan basis to study the way Illinois funds its public schools, and to chart a path to a fairer and more equitable system.
“These changes included in my amendatory veto reflect years of hard work by our education reform commission and our ability to overcome our political differences for the good of our young people’s futures,” Gov. Rauner said. “I urge the General Assembly to act quickly to accept these changes and let our students start school on time.”
The governor’s amendatory veto makes the following changes to ensure an adequate and equitable school funding formula:
• Maintains a per-district hold harmless until the 2020-2021 school year, and then moves to a per-pupil hold harmless based on a three-year rolling average of enrollment.
• Removes the minimum funding requirement. While the governor is committed to ensuring that the legislature satisfies its duty to fund schools, the proposed trigger of one percent of the overall adequacy target plus $93 million artificially inflates the minimum funding number and jeopardizes Tier II funding.
• Removes the Chicago block grant from the funding formula.
• Removes both Chicago Public Schools pension considerations from the formula: the normal cost pick-up and the unfunded liability deduction.
• Reintegrates the normal cost pick-up for Chicago Public Schools into the Pension Code where it belongs, and finally begins to treat Chicago like all other districts with regards to the State’s relationship with its teachers’ pensions.
• Eliminates the PTELL and TIF equalized assessed value subsidies that allow districts to continue under-reporting property wealth.
• Removes the escalators throughout the bill that automatically increase costs.
• Retains the floor for the regionalization factor, for the purposes of equity, and adds a cap, for the purposes of adequacy.
The amendatory veto also removes the accounting for future pension cost shifts to districts in the Adequacy Target. This prevents districts from ever fully taking responsibility for the normal costs of their teachers’ pensions.