Illinois Senate votes to override governor's plan to strip Chicago of millions in education money

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois (Fox 32 News) - The Illinois State Senate worked all day Sunday and voted to override Gov. Bruce Rauner's veto of a school funding proposal.

The governor calls it a "Chicago bailout," but a number of suburban and downstate legislators strongly disagree.  Their vote kills the governor's alternative proposal, which would have cut the money for Chicago public schools by nearly half-a-billion dollars. 

Every Democrat and one downstate Republican voted to override the governor's veto, even though Rauner had criss-crossed Illinois for months denouncing senate bill one as a special deal for chicago, a message some Republicans repeated on the floor.

"All we're asking is that the city of chicago's public schools be treated no better -- that our vote not reflect that we think kids there are more important than they are in the rest of our districts," said State Sen. Dale Righter (R-Mattoon). "About 20 other districts would have lost money, too."

The governor used his amendatory veto pen to rewrite Senate Bill One, stripping $463 million from Chicago's public schools and about 20 other districts.  Most of the state's schools would have gotten more this year.  But by the year 2020, hundreds of districts with shrinking enrollment would see their state aid payments shrink, too. Rauner's proposal died when the senate voted to override.

After declining even to meet with Senate Bill One's sponsor, who's worked on school funding reform for four years, the governor is now calling for negotiations.

"I'm open to compromise on any issue. Every issue can be on the table," Rauner said.

Democrats claimed senate bill one did include ideas from governor and his allies.

The governor faces better odds in the Illinois House as he tries to block an override of his veto.  Democrats need at least four Republicans to vote with them in order to enact their school funding proposal into law.  That showdown could come as early as this week.


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