“Historic” Chicago Education Funding Reform Signed

SB 1947 to provide relief for cash-strapped school districts as well as employee retirements.

Thanks to four legislative leaders, Chicago’s financially ailing school district is about to get a huge funding boost, which includes provisions for teachers’ pensions.

Signed Thursday by Gov. Bruce Rauner, SB 1947 will change how aid is distributed among school districts, and will give Chicago schools an additional $1.1 billion in state funding over the next five years.

“This afternoon, the four legislative leaders and the governor reached an agreement in principle on historic school funding reform,” House Republican Leader Jim Durkin and Senate Republican Leader-designee Bill Brady said in a joint statement Thursday. “Language will be drafted and details of the agreement released once the drafts have been reviewed. The leaders will reconvene in Springfield on Sunday in anticipation of House action on Monday.”

The new law will see the majority of education funds go to districts with the largest gaps between their adequacy targets and available local resources, providing relief for cash-strapped school districts as well as employee retirements. The law also provides potential for property tax relief to homeowners and school-choice protection for parents who wish the best possible education for their children.

“The passing of this historic legislation was no easy feat, but it’s a reminder of the good things we can accomplish when we put politics aside and focus on what’s important: our children and our future,” Rauner said in a statement. “I am proud to sign this bill, which will bring more money to school districts based on the needs of the children, guaranteeing that all Illinois students have access to adequate education funding.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel also expressed his gratitude for the agreement via social media.

“Education funding reform bill SB 1947 is signed, a historic moment for children across our city and state,” he tweeted.

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